Welcome to My Life!

My name is Mark. I have Cerebral Palsy since birth. I am 71. I have been working on the story of My Life along with the history of our family. I hope that you will enjoy reading some of my memories, thoughts and beliefs. Please tell me what you think. There is much more to come and I hope to have a few more pages up soon. Thanks for stopping by. Come again!

If this is your first visit, may I suggest “A Quick Summary of My Life”. Enjoy!

Introduction to Mark, My Life

I have been writing the “book” of my life’s experiences since I got my first electric typewriter many years ago. I have accumulated 100’s of pages but this is the first time they have been “published”. I sincerely hope My Life will contribute something to Your Life. Writings will include comments about the challenge of dealing with Cerebral Palsy, but more importantly, thoughts on human nature, courage, faith, humour, music and a host of other things.

In this section you will find History, from 3 points of view, Events, Physical Life, Spiritual Life, etc. There is much more to come. Stay tuned! Please let me know what you think.

Quick Summary of My Life

 Grandfather Keddy was born in Digby County; Grandma in Lunenburg County. Both in Nova Scotia. He was a Scot; Grandma was “American French and Dutch”. They had two daughters, Violet and Frances, and then two sons, Earl and Cecil {my dad}. The family moved to Westlock in Northern Alberta. Where Dad was born, August 16, 1917. Then two years later, the Keddy’s moved to Northern B.C. around Vanderhoof, Burns Lake etc. Since then, the “North Country” has been a very popular living area for “three generations” from Quesnel to Smithers. In the 1930’s, they lived in Trinity Valley and Mara (North Okanagan) for several years.

Grandfather Keddy was a carpenter. He also made railroad ties, skidding poles out of the bush. Also other bush work & small farm work along the way.

Dad & Mom & Me

Dad went to the Mara School for grades 6 & 7. Later, he was a young Anglican Sunday School teacher when he met the Anseth brothers in the Mara area. As a result, Dad was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses at a Seattle Assembly in 1938.

Mom’s parents lived in North Dakota before moving to Moss Bank, Saskatchewan where they raised six kids. Here the family became involved with International Bible Students Association during the 1910’s. In 1931, this group, the “Bible Students” took on our present name, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Grandpa Anseth (who I   never met) was from Norway. Grandma Anseth {Johnson} was from Sweden. Most of the family moved to Solsqua (5 miles NE of Sicamous) in 1935, then six months later, 13 miles to the South end of Mara Lake. Here, my dad & mom met and wed {July 8, 1939}. From here, most of the Anseth side of the clan ended up in the Kelowna area, then back to Sicamous. they formed the first congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in both places.

My birth was in Kelowna on April 9, 1944, I was injured due to forceps instruments causing Cerebral Palsy. Mom is small; I   was a bigger baby than average {8 lbs. 12 oz,}. I   have never been able to walk, besides affecting all other muscles including my tongue. While I   have always had many friends, it has never been easy to communicate properly with a speech handicap. For most of my life including now, I   would rather be able to talk clear than to walk.

Terry, Mark Standing at 3

This began a long search for rainbows. We ended up finding them, but not “the one” to make me walk. We found coping skills and friends everywhere. The doctors and therapists were both the orthodox & unorthodox. Even before going to school, mom had taken me many places seeking help for my handicap, including five days in Children Hospital, Vancouver. a place in Portland, Oregon, six months in L.A., California at the Milton Berry Foundation, plus much heavy “Swedish Message” in Kelowna.

While still in Kelowna, Terry was born July’46.

All my life, I   have done considerable amount of traveling due to going to conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and for therapy, and for sheer pleasure. This gave me a deep love of people and travel.

For the most part, it was mom & me who would be away for months on end. Besides many “rehab trips” to Vancouver, Mom & I   spent three months each in Castlegar(1956?), and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho(1962?) where I   took treatment from a special type of chiropractors. Everything helped a little, keeping me limber.

I   can recall missing only four of our yearly Bible conventions. Three of them were in New York City. Dad went in 1950; mom went in 1953; we all missed the one in 1958. Those years were huge milestones for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

We moved back to the Mara Lake place from 1949 until 1951 where the congregation had meetings in our home.

Going to School on the back of Dad’s Tractor

In 1951, Dad built our house in Sicamous. The same year, Terry started grade one in public school, while mom taught me by correspondence for two years. After mom battled red tape with much determination, I   took Grade 3 in a special class in regular public school in Sicamous. That year two classrooms were in the fire hall. Over the years, dad built me so many special desks etc. for home and school plus provided transportation morning, noon, and night. Beginning in grade four, except when I   was away taking various types of therapies, Terry was a tremendous help being in the same class, often pushing me home in the wheelchair.  Next year, the Grade Four teacher took me with reluctance.

Noon hours were something else. Dad would bring us home, bathroom etc. eat & run. I   went to school by various means, even on the handle bars of dad’s bike, a long mile, or by sled in winter.

With Miss Vallister in Grade 3

At the start, I   had problems with reading comprehension, Mom gently told me to keep at it. As promised it opened up a wide enjoyable world. This included plowing into the Bible. It was a tough time with King James English. I   was so glad when “The New World Translation” started to come out.

While we were not “rich”, we ate better than those who were. We always had a good garden. Mom was a very wise shopper, a good cook, and excellent housekeeper.

In comparison, Sicamous is still very small, but you should have seen it in the 50’s. Yet it has always been an important crossroad. This plus the fact that J.W.’s are very mobile people and yet a constant close brotherhood results in having true friends in every place that we are. Forty years of a transient population in Sicamous, plus my own travels with our kind of no-matter-where-or-when friendships accumulates a tremendous group.

Regardless what many may think, our lives are not made up of dry Bible meetings, large boring conventions and fanatical preaching campaigns. To me, the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses have always been the most integral and satisfying part of my life. But socially, life was never narrow or secluded. Our recreational and social activities are very enjoyable and we are all individuals. The list of card and board games, TV shows, movies, the hours of music, zoos, parks, tourist attractions, the miles of highway, back roads, city streets, the times at picnics, shopping malls, cafes, crawling in the garden and bush, airports, bus depots, train stations, funerals, weddings, social evenings, and parties, have always been above average.

But thanks to mom, first of all, then an endless host of others, my life was built into something very precious, unusual and productive. Life is never free of deep sorrow, plus thousands of disappointments mistakes and frustrations, minor and major. But through it all, it is as beautiful, exhilarating, and satisfying as a person can make it. Looking at my past, present and future prospects, it is truly amazing! It is very hard to control myself in wanting to share too much of it with others. I   am enjoying life much more than most people realize.

I spent seven months alone (September 1957 to April 1958) in Vancouver at the G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre. The Rehab helped me in many ways including teaching how to dress partly by myself. But here is where I   also learnt how to use and received my first electric typewriter, using mostly one finger on the left hand. Without Terry and that, I   would never had made it to grade twelve.

A manual typewriter is totally hopeless. Because to hit the keys with enough force, I   have to raise my hands so far above the keys that I   hit more wrong keys than right ones. due to an lack of coordination. … Obviously, what makes the difference between a manual typewriter and an electric typewriter is hitting the keys instead of pushing them. It is amazing how many persons do not understand this. I   was able to use a pencil. It was very slow, and some times, reading my “chicken scratches” was as hard to understand as my speech.

At GF Strong Rehab 1958

Vancouver became a very familiar place to me in the years before and after that due to check-up visits. We had much help from service clubs in those years and also from relatives and friends. Family-wise, I was all alone in Vancouver. Despite some acute attacks of home-sickness, I   really enjoy the Rehab and truly missed the place desperately afterward. One dear family, Bill and Muriel Silverwood, were faithful in taking me out to meetings and to visit on most Sundays. I   kept up my Grade 7 under an in-rehab teacher, besides having therapy on three other fronts (physio, occupational and speech). I   kept up my own studies on evenings, and weekends. I   turned 14, went home and on April 26, 1958, I   got baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For the four years of High School, we needed 120 credits, 5 credits per course per year. Terry took what was called “University Program”; while I   was supposed to have been on “General”. But I   took more University required courses than that even those on it including General Science in Grades 9 & 10; then all three Sciences in 11 & 12 – Biology, Chemistry, & Physics. I   took every math course going on both programs, plus an extra English, “Geography 40” & Law. My marks were not all that great, but I   sure enjoyed school. At the same time, I   was taking three correspondence courses: one in Agriculture and two in Bookkeeping. In my classroom courses, But these were the hardest, not mentally, but time-wise. My local teachers allow me to take short-cuts. “Victoria” did too, but not many. I   did not take regular notes nor much practice work for obvious reasons, and was given extra time to do all tests on my typewriter which I did mostly in my “home room” during spare periods. Often staying on weekdays plus taking it on weekends. Graduation night in June 1964 was very special for Terry and me including supper, ceremonies, and dance.

My one finger on the electric typewriter was kept busy enough doing some practice tests plus real exams. Even on the exams, usually they gave me an overtime day. I   would take my typewriter home only on weekends. So sometime I   would stay at school late on weekdays to type. During one summer holiday, I   spent long hours daily doing a bookkeeping course in the house. Agony! Ever since, I   have not been able to stay in a building during nice warm weather. Those bookkeeping courses were put to good practical use when I   helped do our congregation accounts for fourteen years.

My last Electric Typewriter

Before and after graduation I   developed many deep interests including gardening, botany, science, statistics, geography, animals, birds plus many more. So with money from my handicapped allowance, I   built a very good reference library. Over the next 20 years, dad built me more and more book cupboards. The crowning achievement occurred early in 1975 when I brought a set of new Encyclopaedia Britannica 1974 Edition, but even this did not end my book buying spree. My room also contained a TV, Ham radio, tape recorders, two good windows, two desks: one for typing, and the other for studying plus a phone. As for typing, I   did much more than I   had done during my school years, especially in winter months. During summer, I   spent all the time I   could outside studying and reading on the lawn. In those years the range of my reading was much wider than now. Besides my constant increasing library, I   tried to plow through 8 to 12 magazines a month including Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, National Wildlife and Audubon. These were my regulars, but I   would try others for two or three years at a time.

During the 1960’s I   was generally more interested in books and music than friends. I   have always have many, many friends. During any given time, I   always had a few who were my chosen specials. During the 60’s those specials were those who would take a keen interest in my constant growing library. Starting in 1968, one thing after another occurred to make me want to change my ways.

All throughout my life, I   have felt a deep love and need for people, both in general and specific ways. But each decade have seen me re-acting and inter-acting with them in marked different ways. (Wow! That was an important thought).

Locomotion by Crawling (Terry behind)

Terry left home soon after graduation. His first job was in Vernon, thinning cherries in an orchard, then in the bank, sporting goods, then menswear in Kamloops. Good job in Woodwards.

Terry’s moving to Quebec in April 1968; marrying Linda Lefebvre on April 26, 1969; mom’s going to their wedding, plus her returning for another visit {Spring 1972}, all stirred the latent desire to travel and to be more socially independent from dad and mom. Around this time, friends up on the Rogers’ Pass invited me to stay with them. In May ’70, I   arranged with local friends to take me to a wedding in Vancouver. During the five days that we were away, we did many other things. That trip turned out very good. All these events plus other things inside of me sparked me to make many changes in my activities. This was really the start of what I   called “Solo Trips” (without dad & mom).

Between 1969 and 1980, I   did an incredible amount of traveling and visiting friends on my own, being away from home one to two months each year, with many unusual experiences.

Among other accomplishments, my “solo trips” soon became air borne. Fifteen wonderful flights by myself. By plane, train, bus, car, I   got to these places (solo): Grand Forks, Victoria, Grand Cache, Penhold, Sundry, Eckville Alberta, Quebec, La Pas, Manitoba, Golden, On these very sociable trips, Vancouver, Squamish, Edmonton & Quesnel became the most familiar. Hence one of the reasons why I ended up living in Quesnel.

But that trip to Quebec hit the top in several categories, spending ten days in Quebec with Terry and Linda. Those many trips full of beautiful memories..

A little “Drama” production at Camp Winfield

Concurrent with these other “solo trips”, I also attended every year, the Winfield Easter Seal Camp. I   was first invited to this handicap camp through a surprise letter from my old head G.F. Strong therapist, Mrs. McEachran. Going to handicap camp appealed to me for several reasons. First, I love the outdoors, and to be allowed to help pay young adults, strangers, willing to take over of my personal care while giving me a full camping experience. Activities included long walks on countless back roads, long companionable talks, lawn games, chess and other board games, a huge craft building, open air bunk houses, sing-alongs, campfires, although not their planned agenda, the “camp counselors” would willingly engage in deep religious discussions, and/or browse through my ring binders full of a wide range of typed sheets and photos. I also arranged to go out of camp twice a week to attend meetings at the local Kingdom Hall.

I spent as much time as possible outdoors with huge stacks of books from April to October. I   knew the right spot to mix sun and shade, typing mornings and evenings. Of corse, I   would type much more in winter.

I had a growing desire for one of two things. the dearest was marriage which I   thought was an impossible dream. I   thought my other aspiration, living a home for the handicapped, was more practical. A bad encounter in July 1980 squashed both desires.

We had a couple of bad winters in the late 70’s. snow, wood, dad’s health. Terry began making serious plans about moving back West to Sicamous to help us, when suddenly there were wedding plans for me. One of the big considerations why Terry and Linda would leave Quebec was to help our aging parents with me. …

Terry and Linda had the privilege being in the circuit work from the spring of 1976 until August 1981. Then they were expecting a baby. On April 10, 1982, Tyler James was born.

Jan.1, 1981 = Gayle…visited me. On April 4 1981, we got married, which was the most paradoxical part of my life: the Sweetest, and the most fulfilling: yet the hardest, and the most perplexing. There was potential for growth in many fields including the practical experience of managing a household. Much compromise and more time was needed to adjust. Meanwhile there were many ridiculous circumstances and developments.

During 1983, Gayle & I  broke up seven times, each time under stranger circumstances than the time before. Every time she maintain that she didn’t want me to leave. Many ironic circumstances between times. Finally I   decided that the only way to break the recurring cycle of bouncing back and forth between my parents and wife, was to leave my home town.

In August 1983, I was visiting Hank & Jeanne …., Quesnel when I put my name on the waiting list of the Extended Care Unit.

For most of my life, I   spent many very pleasant hours a day ‘on my knees’. I had two main ways of crawling; ‘on all fours’ or ‘walking on my knees’. Over the years, I   have done many activities on my knees including getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, packing and sorting books, and going outside. After I   was married, I   spent even more time on my knees. But due to disuse, gradually, I have lost my abilities in this department, since moving to Quesnel.

My “Office” in Quesnel

Except for one friend who could see what I  was trying to accomplish, no one, wife, family, friends wanted me to go. They feared many dire consequences and thought that I   had “flipped my lid”. When Terry heard that I   had place my name up here in the Quesnel Extended Care, he phoned (November 1983) and begged me not to go. But I   was determined, so when an opening came, I   took it. That was April 9, 1984, but Terry was equally determined to move out west, which they did in October of the same year, expecting and hoping I’d return. Terry really wanted to stay, live and work in Sicamous, but financially he could not make it. So he entered into a business partnership with two friends in the creative sign business in Kelowna.

Terry really thought it would be easier emotionally for me to move back to Kelowna than Sicamous, but I thought that I had unresolved issues inside of me that I wanted to worked out before leaving Quesnel.

My first opportunity came in the spring of ’85. I   had my name on a waiting list to be transferred to “The Cottonwoods” [The Kelowna Extended Care Unit]. When the call came, and added incentive was that there was a computer there for the residents to learn and work on. But my heart just would not let me move.

When I   moved here there were two congregations, now there are three. Naturally, out of these, comes many personal friends, each with their own personality, connections, and reflections. Being around so many familiar faces is often a comfort in itself. But so many of them have done much more for me. Faithfully taking me to the Kingdom Hall, assemblies, weddings, funerals, and other social events. Their attending to my spiritual needs are the most appreciated, they keep helping in many other ways including financially.

When I   moved here to Quesnel, I left most of my library, in Sicamous. But I did bring my faithful electric typewriter. I  did not know anything about computers.

Bart Reed, a student from the University of Victoria was helping those living in Extended Care Units to learn computers under the sponsorship of the Neil Squire Foundation. In Mid-January 1987, a new “Apple 2 E” computer with a Roland-DG PR-1012 printer, was set up in the hair-dressing room. After his three months stay, I was the only resident really interested in continuing. And this was one of those times when I   had no idea what a tremendous boon that it was going to be to me. Initially thanks to Randy Galbraith, then to several others, I was given two subsequent old ones which I   which were set up in my own room starting in June 1989. I filled them both to capacity.

Then friends in congregation greatly surprised me with a brand new computer with CD ROM on August 20, 1994, which keeps being upgrading by finances of family and friends.

My several reasons for moving and remaining in Quesnel are often ironic, and keep changing from year to year. A strange mixture of not wanting to dependent upon my family, both from their advantages and mine, even if they do not view like this. On the other hand, Selfish reasons are also involved. Nevertheless, my whole life have been amazing. It can be divided in definite segments which have been very different from each other. When I think of my life, it is hard to contain myself because it have been so remarkable and full. Yes, I have some frustrations, heartaches, mistakes. I do a lot of bragging and complaining at same time; nether of which is easy to listen to sometimes. … But even if I do not look alive at times, I always feel it, tremendously so.

In many respects, Here in Quesnel I am having a type of life that I thought was only a dream many years ago. It is not that it is better. I   have sacrificed several important things to get and to keep it. In most ways, my family know me better than anyone else, especially emotionally, and about my other needs. But ironically, my need to feel in direct control of my social activities and other affairs is more important to me. They have more freedom without me too. I   thought, after forty years, everyone needed a total break.7

Quesnel (area population = 30,000?) is much larger than Sicamous. Dad and mom did much business in the small town. But usually I was not directly involved. The congregation had much personal contact with me. But here in Quesnel I get to know all sort of people on a first hand basis; Hospital, the Unit, plus many of their relatives, volunteers, service clubs, local merchants, and professionals. This is of course IN ADDITION to the three local congregations. I can not go any place downtown, the malls, an office, a community event, a stroll or a drive anywhere without bumping into a dozen acquaintances every ten minutes or read the local paper. It is nice feeling that is still exhilarating.

My family came to Quesnel once or twice a year to visit. I have been back there twice plus once to Kamloops and once to Vancouver.

For about nine years, I conscientiously attended all the activities that I could, arranged by the activities Aides, Doris Stanick and Josie Norn. Josie retired, Joyce Forkin took over. Most weekday mornings, there is an hour Exercise Class and reading the newspaper. Most afternoons, there are crafts, baking, Trivia Pursuit, other games, or a video. Local talents and volunteers often provide sing-a-longs and other musical events. they also provide special meals regularly. I   went with them many times to the local malls, picnics at Ten mile Lake, several times to Prince George, plus every year to Barkerville.

But for several personal reasons, I   gradually stopped almost all activities with them. Starting in 198-, they have been taking about ten residents to camp Puntchesakut for five days twice a year.

A few of the very special Quesnel highlights were; the Kingdom Hall build, tenting with Irene, sleeping in separate tents after a terrific storm, down an eight hour section of the Blackwater River with George and Kordula in a canoe {August 16, 1992}, sleeping many nights on the swing couch on the back patio, A battery-operated wheelchair that has changed my life; cruising the aisles of buildings and town streets. It is like pinching myself to see if it is real!

My messy room full of papers, books, pictures, tapes, computer, computer discs, printer, radio-recorder, TV, VCR, videos, phone, battery-operated wheelchair, clothes, bed, etc. Typical Mark Keddyish!

I moved to Kelowna Sept.8,2002. I have explored every corner of North Rutland during the two summers I have been here. Many days have been occupied with trips to Rehab at the Hospital where they have spent a lot of time analyzing my posture and mobility. I received a new wheelchair in the summer of 2004 with tiltable seat and special support cushions. We have been working on adjustments to the chair, controls and seating over the past year and it looks like the end is in sight. I am continuing to explore North Rutland as much as I can. For the past few months I have been using a new computer with a much larger flatscreen monitor. I have access to the internet and email although navigation continues to be a problem. Terry has set up online books that I can read in large type on the screen. Many books and publications are now available in audio format and I have the current Watchtower and Awake magazines on the computer in MP3 format that I can listen to as well as the complete New World Translation of the Bible.

There have been many things that have shaped my life, attitudes, goals and what I am. My family was a tremendous help to me over the years. Mom and dad being Jehovah’s Witnesses, I   grew in that environment and this way of life. While we are definite in the minority and many criticize our religion, it has been the motivating force in my life. the Bible itself says the best way would be “narrow”, plus be spoken of abusively by those who do not understand {1 Peter 4:4, 3:16, 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, Matthew 7:14, 2 Timothy 3:12}. On the other hand, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not masochists just as Jesus Christ was not {compare Matthew 11:19}. Those who takes honest look at my life would have to admit that this has not been in spite of, but because of being a Jehovah’s Witnesses {1 John 5:3}.

In the fall of 2006, Terry and Linda came back from a visit to Montreal with some surprising news. They were seriously thinking of moving back to Quebec to be closer to their son Tyler and to all of Linda’s family. They also wanted to be more involved in our ministry of teaching the Bible. In February of 2007, they sold their house after only ONE day on the market! In May, Terry and Linda packed up their belongings and began an eight day drive with a UHaul back across the country. A place had been found for mom who was now in her nineties at a care home in Quebec. She flew to Montreal with Linda’s mother, Mary. After a two year wait for a new home in Quebec the day came to leave the west. In July 2009 came the latest big move in my life. A place for me opened up in Bayview Centre in Pointe Claire, Quebec. Terry flew back to Kelowna and we were in Montreal on July 8, 2009.

As the title indicates, this is just a quick summary of my life. There are 100’s of other pages to come. A little editing is required and I hope they will start to appear in the next two weeks. I hope you enjoy reading about my life. I hope I can be an inspiration to others with various physical challenges to face. I look forward to hearing from you.

Predestination

I would very much like you to read this at least once, maybe even several times before I am finish it. So that I can change directions according to your responses. O.K? Also if I sound stiff in my wording or explanations, it is not intentional. Also I am sorry that it has taken so many months to complete it. But after I have printed it for you, I will take some of more personal parts out of it, and use it for other who are interested in the subject. I find it hard to quit because there are so many side issues that I want to pursue. But maybe some other time. Also I would keep correcting it and re-arranging paragraphs etc. Some times it is so hard to know how, and from what angles that the other person is reasoning. So please forgive me if I have jumped to the wrong conclusions as to what you believe that fate is.

First, let us established we considered as authorities. Science, logic, circumstantial evidence, our own evidence, philosophy, religious and Bible scholars or combination of several.
It is increasing popular, including among religious leaders, Bible scholars, and regular churchgoers to openly reject the Bible, or at least large parts of it. But if the Bible honestly can not be trusted, what can? Then there are those who make great pretense to accept the Bible, but live and even teach largely contrary to it. Frankly, these latter are the ones that I find much harder to understand. … Most people, though are caught somewhere in the middle. They want to think that the Bible is a good book, but due to so many popular, yet conflicting interpretations of it, they quit their investigation of it before they really get started. The Bible is a big book, so it is easy to ‘get lost in it’ [in more than one way].
But a person can’t take a phrase or even a few lines of the Bible [or even any book] and try to make it support a conclusion which was not intended. Jehovah’s Witnesses know the Bible as a very logical Book. But we also examine other lines of evidence to support the truth or else the  possible fallacy of a certain belief.
I am sorry I am having problems getting to the main discussion, due to not knowing how you feel toward the Bible  For example, if a person does not accept the Bible as God’s word, or else interpret it in an uncommon way, then we would have to established some other ‘common ground’ first.
Among my favorite parts of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. … Among many other things, it contain these words found in chapter 3 verses 1&2 which some feel that it support fate because there we read: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: a time for birth, and a time to die; …”. There it is! Doesn’t that prove fate? Everything in life is mapped out for us?

Besides the so-called “rhythm method” of birth control, Medical science has discovered various other means of birth control. Statistics has proven that they do prevent pregnancies including one type of pill that has a 97% “success rate”. But if every birth was predetermined by a ‘higher power’ or by fate, then what difference should it make? Or if God (or “fate”)  has set the time of your death to be January 22, 2022, it would not matter how many red lights you run or how many other chances you take in the meanwhile, you would be safe. Or if you were really “fated” to a particular type and level of back problems, then it would not matter how much or how little or even HOW period you lift. The list of examples to prove that we as individuals have considerable control of our own life is endless. It is true that there are many things that we don’t, including “unforeseen circumstances”, but I will get into that later.

But first, let us return to Ecclesiastes chapter three. It goes on for several verses listing 28 contrasting things which has “a time for”. One is to plant, another is to uproot. Now what does that shows? Do you plant your garden in November, and tried to uproot your potatoes in early February? Of course not! You plant after spring frosts, and dig up your vegetables before the hard fall frosts. So isn’t King Solomon (the writer of Ecclesiastes) here talking about the appropriateness and/or eventuality of time rather than preset time for everything?

Those who believe in the God of the Bible accept the fact that God is perfect, all-wise and all powerful. But does this mean that God choses to know every detail about every person (spirit and/or human) and everything in the whole universe? I realize that the concept of perfection in very hard to grasp. But may I give you a new idea perhaps? :

The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God create everything perfect. But a spirit creature (an heavenly angel) began to develop wrong desires (becoming Satan the Devil) causing the first man and woman to sin, disobeying God. One thing led to another until we got all the mess in which the world is in today. (compare Ecclesiastes 7:29)

But IF God knew everything before it happened, then why did he let it happen? If God foreknew this, would not it mean that He was responsible for all the evil consequences of this world? Strange thought perhaps, but would not the alternative be even stranger? He could have created the angels and humans so that they could not sin. But would that have been “perfection”? Perfect power control maybe.

God created angels and humans as free moral agents [opposite to being controlled by unalterable fate]. God wanted his intelligent creation to obey him out of love, respect, and reason, and not because they are programmed like robots to do so.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 states: “time and chance happeneth to them all”. The New World Translation use the expression: “unforeseen circumstances”, but it is the same thing. In reality, it is quite the opposite to fate.

It would seems obvious that for someone to believe in fate at all, there would have to be some limiting factors. Otherwise IF fate was all encompassing, THEN every little details of all our lives would have already been mapped out. If so, what will be the use in trying to change things?  Even lazy persons can become productive if given enough incentive and training. If all was unalterable, who made it that way? If God did, then those who blame God for everything that goes wrong, are right. … If someone or something else is responsible for “fate”, then God is not all-powerful. The alternative to that the gods have nothing better to do than make our lives a game of dice. Reason, then, would tell us that IF there is any such thing as “fate”, then there must be certain limiting factors. Who or what and how would these limits be set? This question leads to many other very interesting aspects. If you are willing, I would be glad to exchange thoughts on them via computer, direct talks, or literature or any combination.

As you undoubtedly are very aware, there is a very wide range of feelings toward us, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most, likewise for a wide range of reasons. do not want to get too involved with our beliefs. But at the same time, our organization are now experiencing tremendous growth worldwide. Some have high respect for us even though they don’t want to get involved in our work. The negative feelings against us range from outright persecution, hatred, disapproval, mistrust, fear, frustration plus many
others. But if we did not firmly believe in the future, and that vital decisions are involved in an effort to assure a right kind of future for ourselves and others (1 Timothy 4:16). If we believe that we were are all predestined, we would not try so hard to stay on ‘the straight and narrow path’ (Matthew 7:14). If we did not care about others and their future, or if we believe that everyone was headed for the same vague ‘afterlife’, why we are trying? Jehovah’s Witnesses do not go around knocking other religions simply for the lack of something better to do or because we enjoy antagonizing people.

But how can everyone be right? For example, there are those who called themselves they are “born-again Christians”. They believe that they had a personal experience by which they were “saved” by Jesus himself. They staunchly maintain that once they are “saved” they are always “saved” In other words, they are assured of everlasting life. . Some say that once they have been “saved”, they would not or could not do will never do anything that would hinder their heavenly reward. Once a man even told my dad that he could even commit murder and still be “saved”. But there are hundreds of references that could be cited to prove that this is totally contrary the Bible teaching. Here is just one example: The Apostle Paul was a very faithful and zealous missionary. He spent many years, traveled thousands of miles, suffered much for his hard work. He had received the holy spirit which is what being “born-again” is all about. God used him in many ways including as a major contributor to the Bible writing. Yet, consider what he wrote in  his letters:

“Therefore, the way I am running is not uncertainly; the way I am directing my blows is so as not to striking the air, but I pummel my body and lead it as a slave, that, after I have preached to others, I myself should not become disapproved somehow,”      1 Corinthians 9:26+27:

“Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having laid hold on it; but there is one thing about it: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pursuing down toward the goal of God by means of Christ Jesus “Philippians 3:13&14.

How could a person pursue ‘fate’? Why work toward a goal if it was already assured? And why worry about being disapproved if your future was already sealed? Yet this is what professed Christians believe.

The believers in fate and those who believe they are “saved ” or “born-again” may be quite different. … But they do have one thing in common: I.e. they believe that their destinies are unalterable. There are hundreds of scriptures to show that no Christian is “saved” until “the end” (Matthew 24:13). If the Bible does not teach that ‘believing in Jesus’ is an automatic ticket to heaven and salvation, then the idea of fate goes out of the window too. Because the Bible tell us ‘to make our calling sure’. If our personal ‘calling’ was already assured or pre-determined, then faith, effort, endurance would not be necessary. (see James 2:19, 2 Peter 1:10)

I wrote this and thought of the following, even before the day you asked me why Jehovah’s Witnesses keep calling door to door. Because this very popular belief that a person’s future is somehow unchangeable is at the very crux of why we preach. If we believe that people’s futures were automatically assured, then we would not trying to offer them something better.

The Bible was among the first books I tried to read. Mom taught me grade one (via correspondence from Victoria) at age 8. But I loved the Bible quite a while before that because I went to meetings and developed a keen interest in it. No, I am not trying to give you an ego trip about myself. I will prove a point in a moment. I have read, studied, and tried live my whole life by its principles. By my late teens, I knew it better than most in our organization. Now I am age 45, and I am still marveling at its contents. I have read it verse by verse, in sequence more than 20 times; out of sequence, maybe 100 times. Some verses, even whole chapters, a thousand. comparing, analyzing, fitting them in a thousand topics. aspects, applying them in an infinite range of daily circumstances. [Please excuse me for getting off the main topic here, but I am not suggesting here that the Bible is open to many interpretations and still be in harmony with its whole. It is like a carpenter: he can build an infinite range of things. But he must know and follow the rules, or else he will face endless confusion]. But the more I read and study the Bible, the deeper I appreciate it and the pleasure I get from it. I do not know how to tell you the difference in my Bible knowledge and appreciation now as compared to my teens, or even a year ago. It has always been such a part of me, so enjoyable, but little interconnecting pieces keep coming clearer, Bible verses that seems so familiar before, yet now jump out at me like sparkling gems has been moved ever so slightly in the sun. Our meetings, magazines, and books contain every aspect of human interest, aspirations, experience, knowledge; past, present, future. The amazing thing is that; regardless the topic, even a slightest variation of it, there is something in the Bible that can help put it in prospective. Sorry, I am getting further off the topic. But can you get a glimpse of how deep my appreciation of the Bible and also for our the Bible educating organization is? Yet, and here is my point; it takes great effort, and endurance, reliance on God, faith, not fate, to gain this knowledge and appreciation. But, like anyone else, I could lose everything that I have worked so hard for.

Some may think that has it is easier for a person in my condition, due to being handicapped and other factors, to maintain a spiritual outlook and avoid wrong desires and actions. They think I don’t have any of the ordinary temptations that other people do. Even if I had, they say, I don’t have the opportunities nor the physical mobility and capabilities to do anything ‘that wrong’. Or my interests are so narrow that reading and studying the Bible comes so easy. But, this is not true! Yes, I do greatly love the Bible, I love our meetings at the Kingdom Hall; it has also gives me joyful satisfaction when I can share, even in little ways, in discussing the Bible with others. But there is a very wide world out there even for handicapped. I am very interested in many things. I do not have to a Jehovah’s Witness to keep myself occupy. Although, I love and feel deeply committed to everything that our organization stand for, it is not always easy to resist other desires. (compare Romans 7:21-23)  Contrary to popular opinion, there are many fringe benefits to being a JW. for example, socially. All my life, I have never lacked for a wide variety of friends and social activities. I love my Quesnel and seemed to be stuck here to the puzzlement to my family. My reasons, even from my own standpoint, are ironical. Without belittling Quesnel, I had more [materially, socially, activities, travel, emotionally] with my family [and friends other places] than I do here. but the unique type of independence, peace and security that I have here is worth more to me. I could get more other things in other places. Also I do not need the congregation to have fun in Quesnel or any other town. I dare say that, with my disposition, and wide interests, I could have much more “fun” without being a J.W. But I would liable get into a lot more trouble and heartaches too. Without trying to sound too pious, I am grateful to the Bible and our Bible based organization that keep me under control, and teaching me that I do have a choice instead of being guided by blind fate. We all have own temptations, and I sure have mine. I wish somehow I could go into details here without embarrassing either you or myself. Only to show to you, that I am not the  “goody-goody” that I may appear as to many. Despite my great interest in so many things, I would be willing to sacrifice almost anything if I could have a permanent relationship with a woman. If I could not find a permanent relationship, then I take what I could get even it was a series of broken and temporary ones. Basically, I am the type of person that I like a sense of permanency, controls, order, plans, routine, schedules, within reason, and considerably of my making, but also within conventional and conservative bounds of others. In other words, I do not enjoy inconveniencing those around me. Life is full of examples, just one is coming late to meals. So I would feel frustrated in an ‘anything goes’ life-style. But often an otherwise stable person does strange things to satisfy their passions.

Increasingly we hear about people doing very horrible things, crimes. When asked why they did them, they offer very lame excuses as “I saw it done in a horror show”, “a voice told me”, “I felt like it”, “someone dares me”, “the devil made me do it” etc. It is true that Satan the Devil is extra busy today influencing everyone he can. But this does not that we have to let him win over us. We do have some control of our lives. We don’t have to watch horror shows. We don’t have to be copycats, We don’t have to do everything that ‘we feel it’. It is call “self-control”. It is not “written in the stars” neither “was it meant to be”

Do you remember the Bible’s account of Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, thus committing the first murder. But why? Jealousy! Did Cain have to let his emotions go that far? No! Because God forewarned Cain that he could change his bad tendencies (Genesis 4:6&7). Why would God have told him to control his anger if he was fated to do otherwise?

Sometimes we get into problems, and we pray to God for help. Then those problems may be solved in some unexpected way. But God did not send us problems to “teach us lessons”. In other words the circumstances we find ourselves in, is not fate; it was not meant to us. But IF we let God guide us OUT OF those problems, THEN we can rightly say God ‘taught a lesson’. This attitude give us control and appreciation of our lives and prevent us from blaming fate or anyone or anything else for our problems.

It is that “chance”, things beyond our control, happen to us. But “chance” and “fate” IS NOT SYNONYMOUS. Flip a coin. There is a 50% chance, it will ends up “heads”. Now flip it ten times. You should, according to the laws of averages, get five heads and five tails. But how often do you? Play with dice, or cards. Mathematically, you can figure out the odds. But you do not always get what you expect. Let’s say, in a certain area, ten per 100,000, in the next year, will be involve in serious car accidents: seven will be alcohol-related. But in 1991, there may be 11; in 1992, 8, If you drink and drive, the more chance you will have an accident and you could hit another driver. But did fate dictate you get drunk to bump off a guy whose “time was up”? Certainly God would not arranged this! We live in an imperfect world because Satan the Devil that man did not need God or His laws. God has allowed time for that challenge to be totally answer. This time is almost up.

In years past, some liked to think that they knew me. But they really did not. A few did, but each in a different way or aspect. Those who knew me best were those who did not brag about it. I still dislike it when anyone think they know me when they don’t. But back then, I wanted to be “an open book” to everyone. I thought that this was the way to lessen my loneliness. It does not always work that way. As far as I was concern, there were not enough nosy people in this world. My attitudes about that one has sure changed! … Some here think they know me when they are all “wet”. Often it is very disappointing? Although I do not care to reveal more personal things indiscriminately, there are basic things that I would expect staff to know. … for example, why I am so patient at times, and why I am so careful to inform staff of my various schedules, or why I do not do everything I want to when I want to, or why I am so nosy at times. Or I do not appreciate someone trying to yank me off the commode before I am finish. In years past, I wanted people to know me for emotional support and companionship. I still enjoy friends, including staff. But on their terms, not mine. A part of me still would like to have someone who I could free enough to share very personal feelings with, when I felt like. Then I begin remembering my past feelings, and then I reject the urge.

Oops! I got off topic again. I started explain that no-one seem to have a clue how I feel about time and my great thirst for knowledge. I keep hearing people who can use their legs, hands, tongues, “heads” etc. talk about being bored and doing things that “help passed the time”. For goodness’ sake, where is their heart and minds?  For most of my 45 years, I go to bed at night, eager for morning to come, because I want to live and learn, with a head overflowing with my own projects. Then, [pardon my language], some fool will come along, talking about being bored. No one on earth, know many things I want to do, for sheer personal pleasure. Of course, there are many things out of my reach, that I am interested in. But I do not mean them. … I would like to have a 40-hour day, a 10-day week and a 5 week month with only ten hours of that a day in bed. No one in Quesnel, except a few friends who knew me from before, has any idea of the extent of my personal reference library that I left behind when I came here. About eighty-percent of it is NOT about the Bible or religious subjects. Here again, I am not trying to give you an ego trip, but I want to give an idea of how wide my interests are. But a worthwhile life always call for priorities and goals, which in turn mean self-sacrifice. What does self-sacrifice have to do with fate? Nothing! And that is exactly the point. If everything was governed by fate, why do you set priorities and goals? Why do we try to do good? Everyone, regardless if they are religious or not, have a measure of self-control. We should not too much pride, but we do need and have some. We are not puppets, control by stars or gods playing dice.

If I did not believe in the God of the Bible and it is not inspired by Him (see 2 Timothy 3:16&17) and if I did not expect to be rewarded with perfect everlasting life on a paradise earth (see Hebrews 11:6), then I would exercise much less self-control over my activities. I would give up almost anything to have a female companion again, permanent or, temporary, full-time or part-time, or a series of them. I had a good taste of what was possible. I did not tell you to embarrass you or make you or anyone else uncomfortable with me or leery of me. I said it to emphasize how human I am. But as it is, I can not even look, let alone touch, because accordingly to man’s law, I am divorced, but in God’s eyes, I am still married (compare Matthew 5:28, 19:9, and 1 Corinthians 7:1&39).

And if fate is the only thing that is keeping me on the ‘straight and narrow’ path, then what will be my reward? That sounds like a very selfish comment. But isn’t it true? Because if the Bible is not true, then fate would be a very cruel master. Everyone would be lock in their own fate.

You sure do not seem to be a lazy person, and I know you are not. You do have ambitions and desires, So you do make plans, having the determination, exerting yourself to carry them out . It is true that some seem to be born with a lazy streak. But it is also true that they can change especially with the help of the Bible principles. Clearly then, if there is such thing as “fate”, it must be limits. This bring up many sub-discussions. If you care to continue these topics, I will try to zero in on them, one by one. Depending how you prefer me to communicate, I can’t promise how long it will take me to do it.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have many ways of trying to share the Bible message. These methods are often not appreciated. Nevertheless our organization is growing tremendously. So does not this fact give evidence that our methods work. Also our way of life is clearly seen, even by others, as wholesome. It encourage good morals and balance in EVERY ASPECT of life. This includes constant  learning, keeping informed of the world around us, avoiding pitfalls, how to control our weaknesses, how to get up when we fall. All this require constant vigilance, faith, and endurance. Surely this is much more than fate!
If you do not get anything else out of this letter, [and I don’t say this cynically], I hope it is; that Jehovah’s Witnesses endeavor to share their hope for the future, because we fervently believe a blessed future can be yours. If the future of each individual is always decided, we would not need the Bible to guide our lives. Also if fate was true to the limits that many makes it sound as it is, then most of the Bible would be valueless and ridiculous. for example Jesus gave his disciples many instructions including this one found at Luke 13:24: “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able.” But why bother exerting yourself  IF fate has determined your future anyway? Another example, 2 Peter 3:9: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance”. Despite the fact that ‘many will not make it’, God has allowed a certain time during which as many as possible may be saved from a coming destruction. … If people’s destinies were already fixed, what would be the purpose of time?
Jehovah’s Witnesses are often, viewed by others, as ‘prophets of doom’ and judgmental of others. But don’t you think that it is better to believe that we know our goals are, and work and help others work toward those goals instead of leaving so much to chance or fate?
I do hope you will accept this letter in the spirit that it was done. And hope I have not been too bold. If so, consider it a compliment to yourself that I felt so comfortable with you.

Sincerely,     Mark R. Keddy
But IF God knew everything before it happened, then why did he let it happen? If God foreknew this, would not it mean that He was responsible for all the evil consequences of this world? Strange thought perhaps, but would not the alternative be even stranger? He could have created the angels and humans so that they could not sin. But would that have been “perfection”? Perfect power control maybe.

God created angels and humans as free moral agents

My Spiritual Life (TheoLife)

6/19/2006

PAGE ONE   THEO-LIFE  [SAMPLE PAGES FROM “MY LIFE”]

This chapter contains memories from my theocratic (spiritual) history side of my life. They are in chronological order wherever possible. Every side of my life has been full and intricate and worthwhile, so if you are interested in a particular side, please let me know so that I can show or print you a few pages. Many feel that too much devotion to a religion makes one’s life narrow. But the truth is that it has been the biggest factor why I have found so much satisfaction in countless other areas of my life. It is due to keeping the Bible and spiritual activities first in my life. We sincerely believe that the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is ruled from the top down. This is what a true theocracy is. It is a form of government in which God is recognized as supreme ruler. Another dictionary defined theocracy as “a government or a state by immediate divine guidance or officials who are regarded as divinely guided”. This definition is a bit misleading, because no one in our organization claims direct inspiration. They are directed by God only as long as they live by His rules. We use the term “Theocratic” to relate to anything pertaining to our spiritual lives. In the broadest sense, this should include everything. But for the purpose of this file, it will include congregation activities, assembly memories, how I study and enjoy the Bible, the changes, growth, developments within the organization, and of course the many ways that we endeavor to communicate our Bible-based teachings and way of life to others. We are witnesses of God and his purpose. We use the word ”service” to indicate the various ways we accomplish this.

Mom’s side of the family has a long and colorful history with Jehovah’s Witnesses that I have described to a considerable extent in a previous chapter. But dad was the only one on the Keddy side.

Dad and Mom were wed in Mara by a Justice of Peace on July 8, 1939. Jehovah’s Witnesses were not authorized by the Province of B.C. to perform marriages back in those years. … He gave Mom a bouquet of sweet peas that were on his desk.

Because of theocracy, we are strictly neutral toward all politics and carnal warfare. Shortly, before World War II, our Organization redefined what “Neutrality” meant. We do not interfere with what others do. We do not stage or become involved in public demonstrations against any political issues, not even social and ecological ones. But neither do we protest against the protesters. We try very hard to stay neutral in many things including labor strife, strikes, etc.

PAGE TWO
Being neutral does not mean that we do not care about many things. We do! But our methods are so different. Many people misunderstand, and get offended or upset because we do not support them in just causes in the ways that they think we should. We do disseminate much information on our beliefs and guidelines by various means. Even when people are not interested or do not want to be involved with our teachings, learning about us would help them from getting so upset at us. We do not coerce nor mock anyone; we try not to retaliate, even when they are unfair with us, for doing or not doing what we do. Anyone is welcome in our Kingdom Halls without being obligated to contribute or participate in any way as long as they do not make obvious disturbances. Because of our Neutrality, we do not participate in patriotic ceremonies, serve in the armed forces, join any political party, nor vote.

Many governments worldwide, past and present, get upset with our stand. Especially in war time, they get nervous. Even in Canada, during World War Two, Jehovah’s Witnesses were put into prisons and/or work camps for being conscientious objectors. Due to conscription, dad was called up, he refused and ended up in court. At the time of the trial, mom was very pregnant with guess who. Seeing this, the judge postponed dad’s sentence twice. He said that it would be cruel to take dad away then. Mom said that he was a kindly old judge. He said that it would be inhumane to send him away so soon to his first child arriving. But two weeks later, I still had not arrived. So, on dad’s third appearance for sentencing, they could not delay it any longer. I have been delaying people and things all my life. One day, while visiting, they locked mom up in dad’s jail cell in Kamloops, because it was the guard’s noon meal break. I was born late and have been late and slow ever since. Mom said that they took a very short lunch. Imagine, what if I was born in jail! Then they would have a real reason to say that I was born a brat. Uncle Harvey said later that they could have been charged with unlawful confinement. Shortly after, dad was transferred to work camps near Golden and Radium. Dad did not see me until I was several months old, when he got out on a weekend pass.

I was supposed to have been taken by cesarean. At the last moment, the doctor was afraid that he would not get his money. This was because dad was in jail, pending to go to the prison camps for conscientious objectors.

Mom worked in the fruit packing house in Kelowna before and after I was born. Mom did not want to go on welfare. Even when the system is unjust, often we do not take advantage of it. Going to war may be patriotic, but German Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered much instead of killing those who accused us for not helping rid the world of Hitler and his heinous supporters.

PAGE THREE

Dad’s family was not happy with him including Grandma Keddy. He was not doing his patriotic duty and engaging in illegal activity. Grandma Jacques {dad’s mom’s mother}, who lived in Seattle, was very upset. She wrote dad a letter to shame him because he was the first Keddy to bring disgrace on the family name. In fact, later when it was discovered that my injury at birth had caused Cerebral Palsy, she said it was a punishment from God because dad would not fight for the country. But I guess she forgave him, because I vaguely remember that we visited her in Seattle some years later. {94\0401\8:58 AM}

I do not remember much about our early Kelowna days. But mom never had an easy time of it including when Terry and I were babies. We were like twins for a few years. I never walked, so my babyhood was longer. I was always prone to sour stomachs. Often mom would get herself and me all ready to go out, then I would spit up, at times down her back, requiring a change of dress at the last minute. Dad was always busy at many duties in the congregation and at assemblies. Vic Sallis, an overseer, in the early Kelowna congregation used to sing a rhyme at me; “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Loud noises would startle and made me cry including when the audience clapped.

During the winter of 1949/50, Mom and I were in California, we stayed with Jake and Vida Schlegal for six months. Vida was tremendously good to us. She drove us from Anaheim to L.A. every day besides to all the congregation meetings. Jake’s mother, whose last name was Sneider, lived with them and became like a real grandma to me. Years later, she sent me a gift subscription of National Geographic for many years. She was an active Jehovah’s Witness, but Jake was not then.

Uncle Lief and Aunt Elsie, Uncle Bert and Aunt Mary, lived in Southern California for many years. During the six months that mom and I were in Los Angeles, we visited them for a few days. I remember their yard was full of flowers.

“Be Glad You Nations With His People”. To this day, I can remember the Del Mar congregation (Southern California — 1949) singing their hearts out on that song. It is still in our songbook. Same inspiring words with that unforgettable and to me, unsickable bouncy tune to it. Surely one of the musical triumphs of what we believe to be the true Theocracy.

Uncle Harold, cousin David, and grandma Anseth were living in “downtown” Sicamous. Uncle Harvey, and aunty Nora were right next door. Two or three years later, dad bought three and half acres, one mile south of town. We all built our own houses. The congregation meetings were held in uncle Harold’s home.

PAGE FOUR

Everyone has an “unforgettable character” in their lives, who besides their parents, was a special mentor. Mine was uncle Harvey. Uncle Harvey was many things to me. First, the start of my love of the outdoors came from uncle Harvey. Uncle Harvey was married to mom’s oldest sister, so he was not even a blood relative. Auntie Nora would fondly called him ”Whitey“. He would often carry me to the window to see a bird, a squirrel or a sunset. He would carry me on long outdoor walks including through the redwoods of California, plus along the creek on the Mara Place. He was very observant. Mom had purchased a ten-volume set of “Books of Knowledge” in 1949. I was still using them to compare many things up until 1984. But one day, Uncle Harvey saw me using the index volume to find something that I wanted to show someone that related to their conversation. That was when we were still living on the old Mara place. Uncle Harvey was still telling people this until his death. I do not recall the exact incident or how I could use an index before I learned to read. But I do know that have always been extremely fascinated with lists, numbers, indexes etc. Among other things, indexes and tables of contents always gave me a delightful preview of what is available, increasing eager anticipation of what I could learn in the days ahead. I am still like this.

Uncle Harvey and I played hundreds of games of checkers during the early years in Sicamous. I would win very rarely, but I enjoyed those games with him so much, more than with anyone else. Some, due to mistaken kindness, would deliberately let me win. Oh, how I would hate that! Something Uncle Harvey would never think of doing.

Uncle Harvey had a very great influence on my growing up years, especially his deep spiritual insight and love of knowledge. He was an authoritarian, and was gruff at times. He did not display emotion except disapproval. … But we had a very special affinity and affection for each other. He would pack me in his arms many places at Mara. He would draw specific attention to things, including birds and squirrels. He was a great reader and knew many background facts about seemingly everything. He was a self taught man; not having the opportunity to receive a formal education. His specialty was history. While I was not much for very in-depth studies of historical personalities as he was, he would pick out such interesting details that made the Bible come alive. In the congregation, many thought that his talks were too deep and heavy, while I found them so satisfying. For most of my life, I have found it so frustrating when not enough people will enjoy sharing the deeper things with me. My intense love of knowledge never did have anything to do with competition; it is an abiding love, joy, curiosity, and fascination of life. Yes, even a life without walking!

PAGE FIVE

Back in the early days, Jehovah’s Witnesses were not taught to be so tactful as we are today. Even now, we slip many times. There is an old insider’s joke among us. Some who become one of us should be locked up for six months. This is because when new ones begin really understanding and accepting our message from the Bible, many things suddenly become clear. This makes them want to tell others with extra zeal. Some take a lot longer to cool off to normal temperature. Dad was one of these. Others take the opposite course. They take a short investigation and then decide to oppose with equal fervor. Uncle Earl, dad’s brother was one of these. He really believed our teachings were very wrong. Often when he came to visit, dad and him would get into heated arguments. Uncle Earl would describe the burning anguishes of hell, and then would say that dad was going there. Terry was very young, but was listening. Naturally, this was frightening to a kid. We believe that there is no such thing as hellfire. THE grave is cold and the dead are unconscious, awaiting the resurrection {compare Acts 2:29 and 34, 24:15}. Before his death, Uncle Earl had mellowed considerably.

Dad had one of those portable phonograph players that they use in the door-to-door service in the 1930’s. Dad still has a few recordings on 78’s, of Judge Rutherford’s speeches including the famous one on the sheep and the goats. We also had a couple of records with singing of the Bethel family including the song; “Take Sides with Jehovah.” Dad has never been particularly fond of this song, partly due to a certain phrase in it. As so often is the case, I feel the opposite. I have always loved that song for several reasons including the tune plus a unique phrase that bothers dad.

I have many very fond memories of Circuit Assemblies. Congregational Meetings too have always had a very special spot in my heart. These feelings were reflected in the many of the imaginative games that Terry and I played. One of them was pretending that we were conducting meetings and assemblies.

We were getting up one morning when Terry asked me if I was going to be one of the heavenly class. {Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that very few go to heaven; most will enjoy everlasting life when the earth is made into a perfect paradise}. I remember being gruff with him because I did not want him to look up to me to that extent. Also I was shocked because the thought had not crossed my mind.

At first, I had difficulty with reading comprehension. I knew the words, but could not put them all together into coherent thought in my own mind. Mom encouraged me to keep at it. Mom knew how much joy that I would derive from having books in my life, by overcoming the problem in my early years. Needless to say, I have deep appreciation of books, and my perseverance to read was encouraged by mom. There were those who thought that books were “too good” for me. I would drool on them, and crumpled and ripped pages, due to unpredictable hands. Soon I had my own {see physlife}.

PAGE SIX

I had severe problems with the King James Version. I have always had a keen curiosity of the Bible. I was so pleased with the New World Translation when it was released, volume by volume. The Bible is still a big book. The Christian Greek Scriptures – Matthew to Revelation – came first, which most churches call “The New Testament”. This was released on August 2, 1950 at the international convention in Yankee Stadium, New York City. While “The New Testament” could be said to be more applicable for Christians, I always had a very special fascination for Hebrew history and prophecy plus many other things in “the Old Testament” which we call the Hebrew Scriptures. Saying one part of the Bible is more important than other parts, tends to give wrong impressions. THE law covenant or the Old Testament, that God gave the nation of Israel through Moses is only a tiny fraction of the Hebrew Scriptures. THE Hebrew Scriptures is made up of twenty-seven books. THE bulk of the law is contained in only four books. Even these four books contain much engrossing and meaningful information and valuable history. Although Christians are no longer under the Law of Moses, it is full of principles that will never go out of date. As for the other parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, the range and the wealth contain in each has its own appeal.

My respect and attitude toward funerals came from both dad and mom. When someone died in the congregation, it was a foregone conclusion that we were there. Dad would even attend funerals in other churches. Dad has a very deep need to console people.

Until my early teens, I would long to walk. One day, I asked mom how I could “walk with God” like one of our songs’ states. Ever since then, that song has a very special place in my heart. It is still in our current songbook [1984]: same words, same melody [number 138]. {here is a very curious fact: the word “walk” appears 47 times in the songbook: more than any other book in our theocratic library except the Bible itself and the “Insight” volume two. Of course, this is so, despite that most of these books are much larger than the songbook}.

At Assemblies, in those years, the cafeteria department would prepare three full-course meals. Long lines of friends visiting while waiting always have created many fond memories. …
Over the years, often at assemblies, I have met and became acquainted with many of dad’s war camp buddies. Many have become elders and even Circuit Overseers. One, Francis Coleman, attended an early class of The Watchtower Bible school of Gilead, then went to Burma for a few years as a missionary. One couple that the Coleman’s helped into the congregation was Hank and Jeanne Dyke when they lived in Surrey, thus becoming very close friends. Years later, the Dyke’s moved to Sicamous, then Quesnel. In 199-, they moved to the Coast again.

PAGE SEVEN

I have loved people very much most of my life. I am sure that by reading various sections of my book, you can see that. Our need for others is what makes life worthwhile. This can not be overstated. The generosity that I have experienced physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from family and friends can not be over-emphasized.

I have also always loved travel. I have always loved the road period. For most kids, the road is a long tiresome, boring way to get to do something more exciting. Most adults feel the same. The only difference is that adults do not ask every five minutes if we “are there yet?” Once I was on the road, it could last indefinitely. Between going to “Assemblies” and chasing rainbows in connection with my handicap, we have made many long travels.
It has been said that Jehovah gave us two books to learn about Him through: one is the Bible. The other one is the “book of nature” {creation}. One way to learn from both, is by traveling to conventions. I have taken extra pleasure in the passing scenery, never tiring of the long road. Also I did not get impatient regardless of how many stops we made. I always look forward so much to Assemblies, for several reasons: [1] The spiritual feast that the program provides. For those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is hard to imagine how much pleasure we can get from listening to hours of speeches. But we surely do! [2] The release of new books [3] Meeting old and new friends including after hours in restaurants, hotels, motels, while shopping and sightseeing. One very special spot was Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Going there the day after a large assembly was like an extra reunion. For me, it took away the sting out of the end of a convention. We met friends by the dozens from towns far and wide. They were social affairs and family reunions. While we are encouraged to get enough sleep so we are alert for the program, this only adds to our enjoyment of everything else. Often I thought we would not make it financially. In the last week, the money came, and the car was fixed. Getting to and being at conventions was further complicated by me being the handicapped son. But do I dare say, ironically, there were times when dad and mom would have stayed home if it had not been for me. It seemed as if I would not let them give up, due to my fretting and the great distress at the very thought of missing one. Jehovah knew how much I loved conventions. Even the fact that the money did not come until the last moment proved to be a blessing, because it would not be half spent before we got there. We often hear about the value of prayer in a person’s life. There is no other area in my life that I have more evidence and examples of this than getting to assemblies.

In later years, I helped moneywise despite dad’s great reluctance in accepting it. I took over paying for the motel room. Usually, Mom and I had money left over to buy a couple of big boxes of fresh fruit to take home. Often mom and I would pay one last meal in a café.

PAGE EIGHT

Unlike convention plans, I gave mom much static before every therapy trip. But once we were on the road and during our stays in so many different places: I enjoyed every one, more than mom did. Before every new excursion, mom would make definite arrangements by contacting the congregation in whatever area that we were going. There are several ways to do this. … The Watchtower Branch Office in each country has names, addresses, phone numbers of every congregation. We formed very deep friendships everywhere we went for therapy. They would be so faithful in taking us to congregation meetings and having fellowship with us. Then when we were on the road home, plus after I got home, I would ache to return. It felt like my body was resisting every mile. Scores of wonderful friends with whom to have companionable conversation with. They would pick us up for every meeting, taking us out for meals, both to their own homes and cafes.

In the 1950’s, it seemed that we often were without a car. Dad took me to school perched upon the handlebars of his bike. In the winter, he would pull me in a sleigh. Then Terry did. For the meetings, the Whyte’s, as we affectionately called Uncle Harvey and Auntie Nora, would pick us up faithfully. Auntie Nora and mom would often go in mid-week service and home Bible studies together. … On weekends, Terry and I would go in the car while in service. There were usually four or five in the car. Much of the territory was rural. Some were usually in the car while others were making calls. So I would stay in the car, watching, listening, talking and reading. A very special time for me was the spring. I love seeing the lake breaking up. Watching the changing patterns and cracks in the ice. Shrinking snow banks, running water, pussy willows. Soon the buds on the trees were peeking out, and the grass was turning green. Even the yellow abundant of dandelions looked pretty. Also how can anyone not welcome the sounds of birds in the spring air? Jehovah God made this earth a never-ending source of wonder and beauty. Every season has its joy. THE Bible at Ecclesiastes 3:11 states “Everything he has made pretty in its time.” Now we have a song since 1984, based on this verse. It has pretty words to match its pretty tune. Naturally, I adopted it right off the bat.

Very few people have any comprehension of how many little things mean so much to me. I love long trips. When I get in a car, I feel like going forever even though the slower and longer the better. Big city, hamlets, farms, tall mountains, wide rivers, tiny creeks, the wide open flat lands. But let me look out the same window or take me down the same lane a thousand times, and in my heart, I am thanking my Creator.

We made many trips to Vancouver, usually mom and I went on the train. We stayed at the Easter Seal House on 12th Avenue, two blocks from City Hall on Cambie Street. We attended meetings with the “Cambie Unit” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bill and Muriel Silverwood lived very near the Kingdom Hall on Oak and 8th. They were very good to us. It was a very friendly congregation. During the seven months, I boarded in the rehab, Bill would pick me most Sundays for a visit, a meal, then the meeting.

PAGE NINE

Several times, Carl and Elsie Lindstrom took us to their home for a Sunday visit plus a meal. Then they would take us to their meetings at the Kingdom Hall on Kingsway. We first got to know them through Addie Mutz, a very good friend of Mom on Mara Lake.

I wanted to get baptized before I boarded in at G.F. STRONG. Mom thought I should wait, because it was going to be the first time that I would be living without family for an extended period. As it turned out, I faithfully did a lot of studying by myself. There was a beautiful big library in G.F. STRONG. Of course, I fell in love with the encyclopedias. They had a large selection of other books including a couple of the Watchtower Publications. I wanted to put my own little collection in a prominent row in the main shelves so that I could reach them and where other patients and visitors would see and use them. But rather the lady librarian kindly set up my special spot in the study area. There was a fairly long bench table built right into the wall. There was room for five or six people. Each spot had those wonderful bright long tube lamps with flexible snake necks. Especially on weekends and holidays when I was not out visiting, I would be enjoying studying there in the quiet.

For years after, each time when we would attend a district assembly in Vancouver, I would talk dad into taking me to the rehab. I would comb the place nostalgically plus seeing how many old faces I could find. We did that until I didn’t know anybody. Also I would inquire from new staff and old staff of every wing.

On April 26, 1958, after returning from the rehab, at a circuit assembly in Salmon Arm, I was baptized. Mom wanted to change me into my bathing suit, because it was a special day for mom. But someone objected at mom’s plans to do it in the ladies washroom. This created anxiety for both mom and me. Dad came along at the last moment, and changed me in the men’s room. When I was being immersed, Bea Lenney, later Vogel, took a picture of me, but my head was accidentally cut off. Afterward, I sat by a contribution box for the first time. I was assigned to sit under the watchful eye of sister Bergstrom [name? Norwegian?]. We got to know each other a little better in later years. They were good friends with Uncle Bert and Aunt Mary. But that day, we had an uncomfortable time of it. As happens so often in my life, she began talking to others, like I could not hear or understand, wondering about me with doubt in her words. She was polite and wanted to believe that I knew what baptism meant. Frequently, I have the feeling that others do not view and treat the insides of me as a proper human.

We teach that baptism is the start of Christian responsibilities. So before baptism we are prepared to take on these responsibilities. One of which is service. At first, I got only one or two hours per month in the service, thanks to the electric typewriter. I started by sending letters to friends who I had met at G.F. STRONG, both staff and patients. Dad would pack my typewriter home on weekends.

PAGE TEN

Years later, I had considerable ambivalence about my baptism day. Emotionally, desire and knowledge-wise I was ready. I always had a deep love, yes a fascination, for the Bible. I sure wanted to do God’s will for a lifetime. I felt more mature and spiritually connected then, than in later years, when I had a few nagging doubts about whether or not, I had offered a proper prayer of dedication {compare w70 5/15 p. 308, par. 17: w64 2/15 p. 121; w62 6/1 p332}. In my heart, I wanted to serve God in every way that I could, but did I tell Him that in prayer, was I specific enough? I was happy before and after the day. But the day itself had a few sour notes to it.

For many years thereafter, especially when we were in the Kamloops section of the Circuit, I have fond memories of being assigned to sitting by a contribution box. I was made to feel useful and appreciated. A great fringe benefit was making and talking to old and new friends. There were several Kamloops brothers who were very capable in all aspects of assembly organization and congregation activities. Included among these were Terry Coventry, Bill Vogel, and Des Purdy. They gave me companionship at the assembly. Each of them had their own brand of humor.

Circuit Assemblies in those days, began Friday evening and there were more elaborate set up. Usually, we would rent a school for the weekend, rotating to a different town semi-annually. Our crew would be ready to go in as soon as the school kids were out at 3 p.m. The stage, the cafeteria, the cloak room, the chairman and cleaning departments etc., were all being set up. It was pleasant to watch the stage being prepared. First, paper was overlaid below the stage before theme of the assembly was displayed by cut out lettering. Over the years, many have devised different methods of doing this. Also the yeartext would go up behind the stage. Then there were the flower arranging. There were much more time to visit back then, although it was much harder and enduring upon department heads, their families and volunteers. Things are streamlined now. Uncle Harvey was in the Account department or the chairman office. Dad was in Literature or first Aid. The Assembly Program would run until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and end about 5 p.m. Sunday. Then there was supper. The stage would be dismantled. All the chairs would be sorted, stacked and put away in appropriate places. Some of them would be loaded on trucks and returned to other local schools, halls, or even private homes. The floors were swept and washed while I spent many enjoyable hours watching, listening to conversations, visiting old friends, meeting new ones, playing word and paper games. Kids would want to wheel me around. Often it was near nine or ten p.m. before the last dime was rolled, the last dish was cleaned, the last coat was picked up. But for me, those last conversations were the sweetest.

PAGE ELEVEN

Later, for some years, the “Pathfinder Page” in Winnipeg’s Free Press provided an encouraging source. So my service hours showed a healthy increase. I even established a few Bible studies through the mail. In those years, postage was very cheap. A first class letter was five cents. Magazines could be sent for even less. It would cost less to send the magazines and letter separate. Friends would give me their extra back issues of “The Watchtower” and “Awake!”. This went on for many years. In those years, every April and October, they would have unique covers on them marked: “special issue”. THE regular issues were one design and all one color. “The Watchtower” and. the whole “Awake!” would cover one specific topic. October 1, 1964, “The Watchtower”  was not an official ‘special’, but it sure was to me.The article, “The Bible and Creation in the Light of Modern Science”, I collected, about fifty copies of it and was still enjoying sending them out for years after. The second study article, entitled “God’s Word, the True Guide for Man” was good too, and the “Awake!” of that month.

Often, especially in the early years, I was in the service group. I enjoyed the companionship and conversations in the car. The car was usually parked too far away from the doors to share in conversation or even listen to them. Due to this, I did not count any service time. I felt so much more productive staying home alone on the electric typewriter. Often I would not count full time spent at letters, but when I went with a car group I did not feel so bad, because I could see how much time others spent driving and sitting in the car, and still they were counting time. Much of the Sicamous territory was rural. Most of the time, it was not practical to carry me into every home so I could listen to the witness. It is usually not polite to drive the car right up to the door, but sometimes, people would be in their yards and talk near the car, with the windows rolled down. For most of my life, I loved being in a car for many reasons. In those early days, after doing a chunk of territory in Mara or along the Lake, we would stop at Forsland’s or Mutz’s for a visit, snack or even a full meal.

Participation in rural service was different than doing city territory. Doing door to door service in the residential areas in Vancouver, Dad took me right up to the door where I could listen to the reactions. I really enjoyed this, and have very pleasant nostalgic feelings over this period of my life. Being on those beautiful residential streets on comfortable summer days, looking at other people’s home and yards, has always held a very special attraction to me. Of course, this is only one of the many benefits of our door to door work. For those who are not one of us, they can not possibly imagine the pleasant feelings we derive from this. Having a real animated Bible discussion with someone makes our day. But just being out there trying to interest people in the Bible is rewarding in itself. I was out with mom a few times too, but I must confess, direct face to face service has always been all too rare in my life.

PAGE TWELVE

Street service has always been infrequent in my life. Nobody did it in Sicamous, because the town was too small. When we attended assemblies in the very early years, I went a few times. The idea of street witnessing has always really appealed to me. Except for few brief periods in my life, I have always been gregarious at heart. I would have done much more of it, if it was not for the fact that people would give me money but would not take the magazines.

In 1957, when Mom and I were staying in Castlegar, there was a very active, healthy, friendly group in Kinnaird. Castlegar seemed to be a good size town, at least as compared to Kinnaird, which was as small as Sicamous. Yet there were no witnesses in Castlegar. If my memory is not playing tricks, they even had their own Watchtower study on Sunday for a while, going to Trail only for the Thursday night meeting. Yet I do recall attending Sunday meetings in Trail too. I would love the drive from Castlegar to Trail. I also enjoyed many side trips to Rossland and Fruitvale.

While mom and I were staying in Castlegar, 1957, there were three Gustafson brothers in the Trail congregation. All three brothers were very different in looks and personality. Often, family resemblance is so obvious, but not them!. Their wives took mom in service. I can remember their names, but I hope I have got them paired up right. Stewart, was the oldest, serious, and the reserved one of the three brothers. Stewart, with wife, Gloria, went into the circuit work a few years later. Gloria was a genuine bright person. Clarence was artistic and musical. His wife was Ann. They took us to their home in Rossland. I remember being fascinated by his Hammond organ. It could be made to sound like a dozen different instruments. Morton was also very active. Morton was the happy comedian, not pretentious. You could see a warm mischievous gleam in his eye. He made his meeting parts alive. His joy was almost boyish quality about him, but not slapstick. He did not work at being funny; it was just there. It was obvious that his joy of life came deep inside him. It was like a bubbling spring. His intelligence, affection and deep discernment for people made him warm and caring. Pearl, Morton’s wife, was exactly that! A pearl! She would take mom in the house to house ministry and me in her car. I was just in my early teens, but all three sets of the Gustafson’s made such a lasting impression on me. Their looks and personalities were so different. Many families have such a strong, at least some resemblance, but not them. Mom knew them from Saskatchewan. They had an adopted sister, Lorna, who was married to Richard Allen, living in Kamloops.

In 1961, the release of the Watch Tower Index was a real highlight for me. It contains a comprehensive index to all the publications of “The Watchtower” Society back to 1930. It is a rare person who could ever understand how much pleasure and information that I can glean from indexes. I can drool over an index for hours, learning all kinds of stuff, even before I look the actual reference up, I do not intend to brag here, but this is one of my unusual qualities that I have always wished more friends would appreciate, understand, and share with me.

PAGE THIRTEEN

Many have ridiculed me for enjoying such “things”, but this ridicule and/or apathy have been a source of irritation, because of a keen desire to share more. It is easy to bore other people with books and I have never understood why. Even in the congregation, my study habits and the extreme pleasure I derive from them has been a puzzle to many. This, in turn, has resulted in periodic bouts of an unusual type of loneliness. A comment that keeps coming up is that I am “too deep”, or else weird. I do not feel superior and dislike giving that impression. I have no desire to compete or strive to be special. Knowledge, information, to me is like food for which there is an insatiable appetite. Of course, we need food to live and produce energy to accomplish everything else. So my education and fund of knowledge keeps proving to be useful in LIVING, but most of us eat because we enjoy it, others need the energy to work, and others to get fat. In the same way, I read and study out of immense enjoyment, not because I want a fat head. THE right kind of knowledge gives us the motivation and the energy to accomplish good things and change attitudes. Nevertheless, besides this, the process of gaining mental and spiritual food can be pleasurable as well as sustaining. It has always been very hard for me to understand why more people can not or will not share more with me in this process. Some even keep making direct disparaging comments. Whether or not, they are only kidding, the real sharing is not there. There are hundreds of topics that I would like to have an interchange of ideas on, but never get around to. Take a book and start talking.

During the winter of 1962, mom and I were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The congregation there was extra large and some in it may have seemed slow in getting to know us, but by the time our three month stay was up, we had made very dear friends. During our last two or three weeks there, we were invited out for meals and many places.

There was Sister Hoft, not old, but with chronic health problems. She could not be a regular pioneer all the time. She would be disappointed when her service hours were below 40.

Brother Steele had lived at Bethel. He was probably in his early thirties, very warm and kind. He was exceptionally lovable. All his words and actions showed his keen and deep love of life and people. He made a superb teacher and elder. Yet, he had this wide-eyed boyish quality of exuberance and innocence about him which was so enduring and endearing. Often he would digress in the Book Study. We were in the book “Your Will Be Done”, which was an in depth study of the Bible book of Daniel. He would drop his wife, Val, a pre-teen daughter, and mom, at one group, while he took the son, Eric, and me with him to a different one. I would embarrass him by always telling how few paragraphs he would cover. Nevertheless, he would get the group into all kinds of fascinating discussions. He felt that because we had been through the book before, he could take the time to stimulate extra interesting discussion on more background knowledge.

PAGE FOURTEEN

Dr. King got very angry one day, and refused to treat me due to the Sicamous Women’s Institute delaying in putting the promised funds together; until Bob Steele loaned the money to pay him. Just another example of how kind many have been to us far from home.

We made several return trips for check-ups. As usual, I loved the eight hours drive. I was especially fond of the stretch between Grand Coulee Dam and Spokane. The first time I saw it, I was so surprised because it felt like being on the prairies. It is absolutely amazing the range of beauty God made on the earth {Psalms 103}.

A few years later, there was a large convention in Vancouver, likely an international one. We were very glad to see and visit many of our Coeur d’Alene friends, including the Steele’s and dear sister Mead. One day, we were out shopping when she just happened to come into the same store. I was buying a pack of twenty-four of colored pencils. So I chose an extra pack of a different brand. I used them to study for the meetings, I still have those pencils, three packs of twenty-four, even though I can’t use pencils any more due to the lessening range of motion and hand coordination. I really miss this method of study.

I consider that I have an awful annoying voice. I cringe every time I hear it on tape. It is amazing how many are willing to listen to me talking by the hours. All my life I never had anyone in authority even to caution me about my “singing” in the Congregation, except one person. Even he only mentioned it a couple of times. He just suggested that I should not be too loud. Likely there are others who are tempted to tell me to tone it down. Technically, I know it must not be pleasant to be too near by me. One non-Jehovah’s Witness visitor, an older man in Quesnel gave me a dirty look. Once in a blue moon, some youngsters will get the giggles, and/or makes faces at me. On the other side, it is surprising how often someone has told me how good it was to hear me. Even a few have told me to sing more and louder. In particular, Henry McDonald and Tina Hounsell. At assemblies, especially songs with bouncy tunes or other favorites, I really “belt them out” when the crowd is too loud to be thrown off by me. Often, the occasion, the program and the song combine to make you want to sing louder. I must confess, I always did have my favorites.

The year 1963 was very special for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The series of conventions were truly “Around the World” as they were called. There were several hundred delegates who took the full tour. They started in June in Milwaukie, New York, London, then across Europe, and  a side trip to the holy land. Just reading about the geography and looking at maps of Palestine makes the Bible come alive. Imagine what it is like to actually walk around that land. Then the series of conventions continue across Asia, one leg went northward, the other leg went south, though the South Pacific, joining again in Hawaii, and on to the last convention in Pasadena, California, in the first week of September.

PAGE FIFTEEN

At first, Terry was going along with the Whyte’s. Terry was looking forward to it. Looking back, I feel that I was often very unfair to Terry, (and still am). In this case, I was overly critical of Terry’s changing desires. This was to have been his first long trip without the immediate family, but then it was decided that mom and I could go too.

Dad was to stay home, but belatedly decided to go on the bus. “The Watchtower Society” had arranged a special chartered tour. Fourteen buses left from Seattle. Dad has always loved the bus. Apparently the meals were something else with an overabundance and wide variety, plus economical. When they stopped for meals at designated locations, often buffet style, meals would be ready and waiting, and of course, another treat was the fellowship of traveling with so many brothers and sisters.

That trip to and from the assembly in the “Rose Bowl”, Pasadena, was a major milestone in several ways. After every major junction, there would be more bumper stickers. This was especially true after passing the town of Weed, California. It was very thrilling to be on the highway increasingly being dotted by JW cars. Near LA, the freeway became wider and wider. There were hands and arms waving all over the place. We were rooming with the same folks in Anaheim whom mom and I had stayed with during the winter of 1949/50. Jake was not one of us in the 1950’s, but now he was an elder. It was an 8-day convention, Sunday to Sunday. It was warm and sunny every day except one. On that one rainy day, there were only 40,000. On every other day, there were double that. Large displays showing people from other lands were set up all around the “Rose Bowl” green football field. I loved it when the program was held in an outdoor stadium. There is that distinctive echo, it is one of the most pleasant sounds of my life.

This was the convention where the thickest study aid, the “Babylon” book, was released. Also, the “All Scripture” book came out. We are still using this excellent publication in a slightly revised edition in the Theocratic Ministry School. I remember a sister who was just passing through Sicamous, just happened to stop at our place. She had asked one of the “natives” where one of Jehovah’s Witnesses lived. As often happened, they sent her to us. She had just attended the assembly in Milwaukee.

It was in this Bible study aid that the chronology pointing to 1975, as being the end of 6,000 years since Adam’s creation, was laid out. But it wasn’t until several years after that so many got excited about it.

PAGE SIXTEEN

In the concluding talk, Brother Knorr went through describing the whole “Around the World” tour. I will never forget his natural warm speaking manner. I was always fond of his pleasant voice, but during the concluding sessions at our conventions, speakers are extra warm and conversational. He talked an extra three hours overtime, but he said that those who needed to leave, to do so anytime. Many had bus and plane schedules to meet. His concluding prayer was about one half hour long and so full of appreciation, and concern for the whole everlasting good news assemblies and the preaching work that was to continue. In 1984 a songbook was released which had in it for the first time a song called, “Declare The Everlasting Good News”, no doubt they had in mind this earlier convention.

It must have been this year or early 1964, that the Whyte’s moved to Salmon Arm at the invitation of “The Watchtower” Society for Uncle Harvey to be the City overseer. At the time, the Salmon Arm congregations were having some organizational problems plus several very knotty private problems. Some years later, Uncle Harvey developed a very painful form of rheumatoid arthritis. He could not do much but he still remained an elder. It was hard for me to see Uncle Harvey in a wheelchair. He had been so nimble on his feet.

To say the least it wasn’t easy for Aunty Nora because she was homesick for Sicamous, in contrast with Aunt Alma who was homesick for the hills of Salmon Arm. As explained before, I have loved travel and being away from home without missing my home environment and routine. It was very odd, but my most acute cases of homesickness were in Salmon Arm, less than twenty miles away.

Pete Westman became congregation overseer in Sicamous. Two or three years later, Pete and Mary moved to the high-density area of Vancouver to pioneer. Their territories were among the high-rise apartments near Stanley Park. What a change from the hamlet of Malakwa. During the two or three months before they left, they had every individual in the congregation, one family at a time, for a meal. The Westman’s were those reserved, kind, private people, who you want to know better but never did. Jim Hawley said he was sorry they were leaving just when “we” were finally beginning to get to know them, but that was the idea. People like this do have certain advantages. They let others come only to a certain level gauged to their social comfort, then they make a move to reestablish it.

Pete and Mary were among the real old-timers in the area, not really in age, but in respect and dependability. He was the foreman {?} for Carni Pole Company, at the backroad junction of Solsqua and Old Town Road.

Rod Langstaff was appointed congregation overseer, after Pete.

PAGE SEVENTEEN

It will take scores of pages to tell you about my special memories of our annual summer conventions. They are always the highlight of the year. After the closing session, common sayings among Jehovah’s Witnesses is, “that was the best assembly yet”, “that one was exactly what we needed, they get better every year”, but some stand out, sometimes for very personal reasons, others have been a milestone for everyone like 1963! One of the smaller regional conventions that I enjoyed the most was in Trail, which was in 1964. By “smaller”, I mean where the attendance is between 2,000 to 5,000. In the years since, I have not met anyone, whose impressions were like mine. Most even look very vague when I talk about this convention. That year, many from our area went to Vancouver and other locations, but the stages at these other locations did not have a platform display like the one in Trail. The display simulated nine tall books, different heights and widths, and colors. Each book was labeled with a fruit of the spirit. Then there was a red arrow that was moved each time as the program progressed. They spent an average of two hours on each fruit. Months later, “The Watchtower” came out with full length study articles on each fruit. These were just as stimulating. Another added treat was seeing the friends from the Kootenays. It was so good to see the Trail congregation again, several of them organizing various departments plus being on the program, including my beloved Morton. Years later, in 1984, when new the song book came out, there was at least one song for each fruit plus one song covering all nine. [94 02 07 8:46 AM]

Assemblies have always been great social events. The program is such a spiritual uplift. The social part was more cozy in the 50’s and 60’s, more time was allowed between sessions to visit with many of the friends from other congregations to mingle together. Also, the spiritual part always was very important. In former years, many would linger for hours at the convention site. Some of it was necessary due to cafeteria, service, literature, cleaning, rooming, first aid, cloak departments. Over the years, everything has been simplified. In recent years, the social part has lost some of its appeal for me. Many reasons, but I still feel a very acute need for some extra social contact in the evening after the final session. Nowadays, a very few feel like me, the need to linger as long as possible, but others want to rush home while some gather in restaurants.

It seems ironical how many women say that they need a job out of the home for the stimulation, “break the silence and the monotony”. Yet they can not wait to get out of an assembly hall. Men are worse. They say that they can not take crowds, traffic, and shopping. So they rush home from a noisy workplace to relax in front of adrenaline sports, TV, or they sit glued to the never ending news, while neglecting their own family.

PAGE EIGHTEEN

After graduation, I started a correspondence course in English 40 in preparation for the prospects of getting into Journalism. At the same time I signed up for the temporary pioneering, as they called it then. Now it is called auxiliary pioneering. As it turned out, I did not even finish my first lesson. In a way, I regret not having continued. On the other hand, those early years of intensive service were precious and enjoyable.

Back then, the requirement was 100 hours a month and the applications were sent directly to “The Watchtower Society” in Toronto to be approved. There was arrangement whereby a person could “pioneer” for “two weeks”. That meant 50 hours for the first two weeks, but your quota was 25 hours for the other two weeks as a congregation publisher. Anyway, I usually went for the full month.

In 1976, the pioneer hour quota changed. Also the term “temporary pioneer” to auxiliary pioneer. For rather obvious reasons, I liked the change in terms. Auxiliary has the suggestion that you are doing more, helping and supporting instead of being only temporary. The reduction in hours meant many more could share in accelerated form of field service for longer periods of time.

Regardless what things and benefits I have been given or acquired, even not intended, have turned into theocratic or spiritual advantages: education, rehab, electric typewriter, trips, handicap camp, computer, battery-operated wheelchair.

In 1966 (?) mom was very surprised at being assigned to care after the congregation’s account. Due to a shortage of brothers, Alice Langstaff was also assigned to the Literature Department. I did much to help mom with the congregation accounts. I was also in the Theocratic Ministry School. I have kept those early talks in ring binders and a few people are still reading them.

For several years, I had been searching for an accurate and adequate “Bible dictionary”. The Watchtower Society stocked a few from other publishing houses, commercial printers. Books and magazines, from other religious sources have always been so much more costly than “The Watchtower Publications.” I picked the biggest and most expensive in “The Watchtower Cost List“, which was the “Harper’s Bible dictionary”. Uncle Harvey had the Smith’s, which I had browsed through several times, but it did not delve deeply in depth or detail enough to satisfy me. When it finally arrived, I discovered that it had much “higher criticism” in it, presenting explanations why each Bible event could not have been true. I received permission to return it in exchange for “the Westminster Bible dictionary”.

PAGE NINETEEN

In 1969, at the “Peace on Earth International Convention”, “The Watch Tower Society” came out with its own Bible dictionary, “Aid to Bible Understanding”. It was exactly what I had been wanting. In fact, I was wondering, hoping, and even expecting it for several years. In 1969,they came out with a dictionary from A to E. In 1971, came the complete volume. It was a big fat one-volume Bible encyclopedia that provided thousands of hours of enjoyable research. Each summer, I would make my own project to do on the front lawn, in addition to our regular study preparation for the Theocratic Ministry School. For example, the “Aid” book had a table, 5 or 6 pages full of the features of the Mosaic law. It was laid out systematically with hundreds of scriptural references. Segment by segment, I would look up related articles. Another summer, I did a comparative study of the gospels in chronological order. One year, I read the whole Bible in chronological order. When I came to the times of the kings, I would read parallel accounts about each king in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, then read corresponding sections among the prophets.

There have been several Circuit Overseers and their wives who I was very fond of. One example was Richard and Gay Toews. I remember the first time we met at Revelstoke. Dad was unloading the car, probably literature. In those days, we made elaborate displays. Dad would keep changing them. It would take hours to set up all of the department heads and their assistants. Dad was assigned to the First aid or the Book Room. The Sicamous congregation had an abundant and unique stock of literature. Dick was very young and new as a Circuit Overseer. My reputation had preceded me. Dick was eager to meet me. He came to the car while I was sitting in the car. Aunty Nora and others had told him about the way I did my service and the extent of my Bible knowledge. For some unknown reason, he was instantly fond of me. The affection between us was mutual. I almost knew the feeling expressed at Second Samuel 1:26. Although I was very fond of Gay too. She was very comfortable with me. She would often, by her own initiative, sit with me in the first row of the Kingdom Hall. Much of the time, I was alone on that front bench by preference. I could concentrate better. I had my own table to spread my study books. But Gay would sit with me without being prompted, and she was so companionable.

Brother Toews encouraged Harvey Clausen to get to know me. Harvey was a paraplegic with full use of his hands. Brother Toews thought my example of industriousness would spur Harvey to greater theocratic activity. Harvey lived in Vernon. He had a house with many ramps. His mom lived with him. He also drove his own special equipped van. Our communication was O.K, but not great. He had good hands and understood electronics, so he would help me with technical problems with tape recorders, but I did not feel that I helped him much spiritually. He did go in service.

PAGE TWENTY

Brother Toews was the first, and in a way, the only Circuit Overseer who actually went “out in the service” with me, and that through his own initiative. At the time, I had chosen part of my territory from phone books of isolated areas where no Jehovah’s Witnesses were currently living or visiting. At the time, I was writing letters to those in the several hamlets around Pemberton. I had intended to start with the first last name beginning with an “A”. But my finger aimed wrong, hitting the letter “S”. So I switched columns in the phonebook to that letter. He thought this was so resourceful. A few months later, I received a letter from a very appreciative lady who was longing to renew association.

The Toews went to Gilead, then to Barbados where they served in the Branch office. We had a sentimental farewell at a Vancouver International convention {1969?}. Ten years (?) later, they returned to Canada. Then I heard that he was one of the instructors for the pioneer school in Vancouver in 1981. Guess who was in the class! My new sister-in-law, Gayle’s sister, Gloria. Then they were in the District work for a few years. I saw them in Kamloops in 1989? Then they took leave to take care of their ailing mother in Victoria. Richard took the funeral of Rena Virk. I heard his voice on CBC Radio. There was also fifteen seconds of a kingdom song. Despite the ironic and sad circumstances, it still gave me pleasant shivers to hear his voice over the public medium.

Reg Arnott, then our District Overseer, accredited me for the 1966 yearbook. He had heard of me through Dick Toevs. I was not trying to show off, but every time he would enter into my room: morning, noon, or night, I would be busy. Regardless, maybe I misinterpreted his tone and body language, but it told me that my apparent boundless energy was making him weary. Many people throughout my life react this way. It is like me and my activities are always too much. It is like they expect and even want me to relax and  be bored like many who are in similar condition. I still cannot understand why people do not figure me out in this regard. Anyway, I was sorting a big stack of magazines for my service letters. Every time, I think of this, I have a mix of disquieting thoughts. It was as if I was showing off which I was not. A few years later, the Arnott’s went to Gilead and then to Columbia, South America.

Don Mill from Bethel stayed at Westman’s for a few weeks, while he was recuperating. Although he was not his normal self, he would attend our meetings, and I would enjoy him just being there.

PAGE TWENTY ONE

The Canadian Bethel {“The Watchtower” Branch Headquarters}, made slide presentations for several years. They would send out Bethel brothers, usually in the spring, one by one, to different parts of the country. The Circuit would rent an auditorium plus pay his airfare. The program usually lasted two and a half hours. They were designed to give us extra pep. Gerald Henschel took photos of me for them, showing how I did service by electric typewriter. Obviously, I was concentrating too hard and nervous because all the expressions on my face were horrid. These were shown all across Canada.

Shortly after graduation, Terry left home, his first job was in Vernon, thinning apples,  then several months in the bank. In 1966 he moved to Kamloops where he started work as a clerk in sporting goods at the Hudson’s Bay. Then he landed a job in Woodward’s, menswear department. Terry loved it. At the time, he could have gone far with Woodwards. The Victoria congregation in Kamloops was very zealous, progressive and lively.

Vernon was always our big shopping town, which we would enjoy very much. Often we would end up at Willard and Noni Dyke’s for supper and an evening visit. It was through Terry that we got to know them because he was friends with their daughter, Linda. Our friendship continued for years. The only part that I did not like was that the men would end up in one room: with the women in another. At other times, we would have pleasant spiritual discussions together. Although the Dyke’s were more dad’s and mom’s friends, I would enjoy listening.

When Terry was living in Kamloops, we would do our shopping and visiting there instead of Vernon. I have always loved Vernon for several reasons. It is a pleasant and a pretty town. It was warmer and less damp than Sicamous, less snow in the winter and more sun all year around, which all in the family appreciated. Kamloops is different country, different atmosphere and even better shopping. There has always been something special about Terry’s friends. For one thing, they were uniquely comfortable with me. It was as if they knew me before seeing  me.

Their meetings were unique and innovative, just what Terry needed. Between the zealous encouragement from the local elders including Terry Coventry, and Laurier Saumer, Terry was encouraged to head East to Quebec.

Terry found a job at “Russell’s”, an exclusive menswear store in Montreal. At the same time he met Linda. Terry went from regular pioneer to elder, from special pioneer to circuit overseer while in Quebec {1968-1984}.

PAGE TWEEN-ONE

Terry and Linda were wed on April 26, 1969. Mom went to Montreal for the event. It was only a few months before Jehovah’s Witnesses finally obtained legal authorization by the province of Quebec to perform marriages. So Terry and Linda went to an Italian Protestant minister for a legal wedding. Terry made several requests about the ceremony, such as no prayer and so on, but the man had already married a number of JW’s so he got a little impatient and told him he was aware of our expectations. He seemed to not mind helping out others who did not have access to legal marriage. He would not even accept some money for his time. After this legal ceremony, they went to the Kingdom Hall for another one. Terry had arranged for the song “Living Up to Our Name” to be played by mom on the piano. I do not remember this song being sung at any other wedding, but I thought it was so appropriate and nice. After I wrote this paragraph in the year 2000, we had a Watchtower study on marriage which used this song to close.

PAGE TWEEN-TWO

Starting in the 1970’s (?), special programs were arranged, usually in the spring. These were extra treats, in addition and not connected to our regular semiannual circuit assemblies. A brother from Bethel, The Canadian headquarters of JW’s, would come to Salmon Arm, Vernon or Kamloops. Once we even had one of the Governing Body from New York in little old Salmon Arm. I will never forget. Near the end of his talk he called his much younger wife out onto the platform only to introduce her. No one said so afterward, but I was sure, he was trying to make a special point.

I had known sister Sullivan on a somewhat casual basis for many years. She would always talk to me when she saw me. After several years of attending assemblies by herself, it seemed as if her husband suddenly appeared and began to make excellent progress in our way of life. Then, we were in different halves of the circuit. So for several years we did not see each other. It seemed as if it was no time until he became an elder and took very responsible assignments at assemblies. He was a very pleasant, mild mannered man. Many years later we were at a special assembly day. The program was extra warm. There happened to be a baby grand piano in the auditorium.  Guess who got on it to play the closing song? It was brother Sullivan. It gave me “goose bumps” to hear and see him play. Usually, especially at the end of an assembly program, the heart is so full of appreciation that it motivated me to sing with extra vigor. In a larger crowd, I dare bellow louder without being concerned about throwing others off, especially if I am sitting by myself, but this time it was too beautiful for me to sing. I have never heard anything so surprisingly beautiful. To see Brother Sullivan’s hands float on that baby grand piano. I had no idea that he could play, let alone be so talented. The song was then number 110. To this day, I get all choked up trying to tell friends of that day. The audience, a bit larger than usual, was belting it out with great enthusiastic appreciation, adding to the beauty.

Another year, Gerald Henschel was asked to take pictures of me in my room by the typewriter. They were incorporated into a slide presentation of how some with unusual circumstances do their service. So I was picked as one example. I had a very unpleasant expression on my face.

Another fond and unforgettable memory was marching into the Empire Stadium to what was then the tune of song no. 62 “We Are Jehovah’s Witnesses”. We are continually encouraged, even more in recent years, to be in our seats BEFORE the song and the prayer, but that was one time that I was glad we were late. The incoming crowd started at the Pacific Coliseum, all across the P.N.E. Playland and into the Stadium. It was a sunny morning, the sisters in colorful dresses, the brothers in suits, children and teens, all ages, carrying Bibles, songbooks, etc. The crowd was not really marching, but it sure felt like it, but to be in this crowd, all walking, moving orderly to our coming goal, while a much larger crowd were standing in their proper places singing, gave me an indelible memory. I wish I could describe it better. This reminds us of the beautiful word picture given in the Bible at Isaiah 2:2-5.

PAGE ONE-TEEN

In 1970, I received a very good surprise. A letter from Mrs. McEachran, my old physiotherapist in G.F. Strong Rehab. The letter was postmarked Kelowna! She had become the head of the Okanagan Neurological Society. Enclosed was a Camp invite, but Denise’s wedding in Coquitlam was my high priority that year. Next year she lost my address, so it was not until 1972 that I received another application for camp. I eagerly filled it out and was accepted. Every time, I would pay my own fee. At first, it was $60. It was suggested that Ministry of Human Resources would have paid the extra or even the Lions Club. I did this for ten years, a full week. In fact, the first year, I went twice, the last week in June and the first week of August.

The Vereschagins picked me up for the meetings while I was at camp. John was a quiet person. Ann Vereschagin and I grew to be very comfortable friends. Gary Roberts came from a very large family. For various reasons, their many kids had problems growing up. His grandparents were of the remnant and long time pioneers,but Gary was the stable one of the family. We formed a friendship. For a couple of years, he would come from Salmon Arm to Sicamous to spend several hours with me. One of our common interests was tape recording. Often we would get into stimulating spiritual discussions. Dad and mom took me to the wedding in Winfield. I did not want to make the mistake as I did with the Reinhart’s  wedding in 1970, although the circumstances were very different. Shortly afterward Gary and  Julie  moved to Quebec and started a family.

Vern Dando, while everyone was encouraging me to go, gave warnings of dire consequences. Ironically, it took ten years for his predictions to come true. To add to the irony, by this time, the Dando’s had moved to Surrey and I had switched camps. As an extension to the Squamish Camp experience, I ended up being a guest in a Variety Club Farm group home in Ladner. So guess who I phoned when I got into serious trouble? Joan Dando.

(06/19/00 1:33:55 PM)

In 1972, Easter Seal Handicap Camp provided fresh territory for service. One June, I spent 30 hours typing and getting my binders ready to take with me. Then at camp, I ended up making “dates” (“return visits”) with the counselors one by one, to read and talk about a wide range of topics. I did not intend to, but I accumulated 30 more hours. So it ended up that this was the only summer month I ever auxiliary pioneered. I usually enjoyed my camp week a lot, but I was ecstatic that time. Believe it or not, I had ample time for other activities. Although the companionable relationships formed were quite transitory, they showed a genuine interest in who and what I was. My heritage and my wide-ranging interests were admired and encouraged instead of trying to ignore or cooling them down. Many of the camp counselors were very open and willing to get into religious deep discussions. My main purpose in going to camp was not for service. It proved to be a real turning point on how I did my “field service”  Although I have enjoyed very much corresponding with “pen pals” for about fifteen years, I felt that it was getting stale. I felt I needed a change. I wanted face to face contact, and direct communication. This was exactly what I got at camp. Service-wise, it was the best time of my life.

PAGE TWO-TEEN
In 1971 [?], Grant Sonmor stayed with us a few times when he served as Circuit Overseer. He watched me a lot in my room: doing my service letters on the electric typewriter, doing my own studying for meetings without me knowing why. So it was a big surprise when I was appointed as Accounts Servant. He did not talk much, but we had a special bond between us. Mom told me before the meeting announcement, because she was not sure of what my emotional reaction would be. Mom remembered seven years previously, that it came as a total shock when it was announced that mom had the accounts assigned to her. Also, he initiated me into doing typewritten prayers for a few meetings, then dad would read them.
In September 1972, the elder arrangement came into effect, and I was approved and appointed as a ministerial servant.

Regular congregation meetings have always been so very important to me. All my life, dad and mom have always been very faithful meeting attenders, but even rare times when they would miss, I would find a way. I would phone someone to come to pick me up. There were times when they were sick or had unexpected visitors. When grandma Keddy, who lived in Burns Lake came, she would come with us to most of the meetings. She was so vivacious when greeting people. She did not really accept our belief system, being emotionally drawn to the Anglican Church.

We went through some difficult times in the congregation in the late 70’s. Tom (Andre) Ramseyer was sent out by the Society to help get things straightened out along with our Circuit overseer at the time, Russell Reid. Many years later, Tom’s brother, Henry was the Circuit Overseer, while I was in Quesnel. Their next assignment was the Kelowna area.

To help repair our “wounded” congregation, Ray and Phyllis Meyers from Eckville Alberta were sent to Sicamous as special pioneers by The Watch Tower Society. When they arrived in town, they did not wait for a formal meeting to introduce themselves. The first time they were in our house,they were  mild, kind, compassionate, and open. Jehovah knew what we needed to heal our wounds, so did Toronto Bethel. They knew the Langstaff’s. The first day they came to our house to introduce themselves, Phyllis took one look at me, and announced that she thought that their son, Stan, knew me. I did not believe her at first. Quite often new friends say things like this when first meeting me. It does not always mean much, but she kept probing my memory. Sure enough! I have met Stan and his young family when they blew in one evening from Eckville while I was staying with the Langstaff’s in Sundry. I had a photo taken of them and it was {and still is} in one of my travel ring binders. Phyllis got all excited when she saw it.

PAGE THREE-TEEN

The human race is made up of an infinite mix of types and personalities. Different people need different types at different times. We all have flaws. Thanks to Christ’s ransom and the kingdom that will take total control over the earth, obedient humans will gradually grow back to perfection. We believe that we are being educated right now, in the way that leads to everlasting life. Human perfection will not mean that we will lose the fascinating  spectrum of character. In the meantime we must put up with the abrasive and frustrating traits of each other. Although it is harder to learn and cooperate with those who have certain characteristics, we do discover often in retrospect that we have gained strength through the experience. God knows what we need and when need it. So, He arranges things at the proper times according to our needs. When He sees us in circumstances too hard for us to handle, He will provide a way out…if we are willing to wait and cooperate with those who are responsible to make the needed changes. It’s so important to adjust our own attitudes and habits first before attempting to adjust others. (note Matthew 7:3-5).

 

1992 – Down The River In A Canoe

It was August 16th, 1992 (I think). It was the best outdoor day of my life! Let me tell you about it.

It was supposed to happen a week earlier. One of the maintenance men at Baker lodge wanted to take me on a canoe trip down the Black Water River. So they had to call mom and dad in Kelowna to get permission a couple of months before. The trip was set for the ninth of August, a Sunday. Saturday morning we woke up to a very heavy down pour of rain. It remained very cloudy all day unlike Quesnel’s usual weather. Sunday, things were looking very iffy.  So they postponed the trip. Later in the day the Sun came out though and it was very comfortable so I took off on my own in my battery operated wheelchair and went to the afternoon meeting at the Kingdom Hall.  Don and Carol, who live nearby asked me over for supper. Carol made a big salad and asked Don to go down town and pick up some chicken legs at the deli. He came back with chicken nuggets from McDonalds!

Carol was not happy about the Nuggets, she was provoked. The day had turned out very warm and comfortable. It would have been nice to eat outside but then she decided we would eat downstairs where it was a lot darker and cooler. Later I went home on my own.

Next Saturday, I think it rained again, but Sunday morning was bright and warm. The night staff got me up early as usual. around seven o clock, we were on our way with the canoe on top of the vehicle.

Up Front Street, across the Moffat Bridge and up north Fraser highway, past Boucher Lake, on the way to Nazko we travelled.

30 minutes or so later we went down a lonely lane to some friend’s house on the river. George went in the house while Kordula gave me the bottle in the truck. (How do you spell relief!) Soon we were back on the road and got to the boat landing. (Gillings). I think we were in the water before 9 AM

We spent about 6 hours in the canoe. On the map, we only did a tiny part of the whole river but perhaps 4 or 5 kilometers. The water was very deep in some parts and quite shallow in others. The level is at its lowest in late summer. Around every bend was a new feast for my eyes. We almost got beached on some sand bars. George had to get out and tug the boat back in the water several times.

George and Kordula were quite new in their relationship so I was enjoying the romantic tone of the trip down the river! We saw a moose, then a bear on the edge of the forest. We stopped for lunch; George carried me out of canoe and put me in a folding chair. Kordula had packed a wonderful lunch including a shrimp salad, chicken, cake and cookies. We took some pictures.

Back in the water George and Kordula took turns fishing. I got a kick out of watching her learning to fish. About 3 hours later we came to another boat ramp and met their car which their friends had brought down stream. Then we drove to Sylvia’s Cafe which is in the middle of nowhere, Nazko country. They cooked the fish we caught! We ate it in the Cafe. I got home about 9 o’clock.

My memories of this day are so special; every bend in the river was a new photo in my mind, the poplars and birches leaning over the water, welcoming us, the gentle dip and drip of the paddles. The cut banks short and high revealing the different strata of centuries. The weather was beautiful, warm and comfortable. We went through a couple of rapids that seemed quite exciting to me but what most people would consider pretty tame. Not really my cup of tea but I didn’t mind. I’m not much of a roller coaster guy.

The next day, Monday, I had previous arrangements with Terry, another one of my favorite caregivers. She picked me up mid-morning and we went to Boucher Lake. We got to stop for an hour at Barb Wright’s place right on the lake. Barb was another one of my favorite caregivers. I had stayed at their place overnight another time. That night I had the strangest feeling of déjà-vu. It was dark when we got there. On the way up to the house in my wheelchair, suddenly I felt like I was in Edmonton! It was only the darkness and nothing to do with the company, just one of those funny connections the brain makes between experiences old and new.

I can’t remember another day in my life with such natural beauty all around me. Dozens of types of trees, bushes, vegetation; rock formation so varied, that around every bend it seemed like a new country.

The poetry of Psalms 104 captures the grandeur: V10 “He sends springs into the valleys; between the mountains they flow… 12 He is watering the mountains from his upper rooms, with the fruitage of your works the earth is satisfied. 24 How many your works are, O Jehovah! You have made all of them in wisdom. The earth is full of what you have made.”

The Final Choice – Poem

Here I stand, a man of stone,

to face the test of time alone.

Shipwrecked or salvaged are my fate,

depending on my mental state.

If wrecked I choose, doomed am I,

life of misery, I await to die.

But easy roads this path takes me,

to my final sleep for eternity.

If salvaged is my choice at hand,

then to the wind I take my stand.

For rough is the road to life,

if it even means a little strife.

Both mean victory, but only one side,

a change of heart can change the tide.

For battle we do, in all our tasks,

good or evil, we wear their masks.

So which one do I don,

for soon the choice will be gone.

The sands of time,

slip through my hand,

in my heart I must take a stand.

To fight off the evil dread,

before the light of love, is truely dead.

So in darkness my heart does not dwell,

to bury my heart in the pit of hell.

Hope and faith help show the way,

but withouth love, expect not to stay.

For God is love, does the Bible say,

and with Jehovahs’ love, we’ll survive His Day.

Darren A Connell Sept. 11 2000

A letter to my High School Principal

(MR ELLASCHUK WAS MY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL.  THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN SHORTLY AFTER HIS RETIREMENT – I GRADUATED IN 1964.)

(A link to a memory page for Mr. Ellaschuk) http://www.shuswapfoundation.ca/docs/mb/ellaschuk.pdf

Sicamous BC

February 21st, 1977.

Dear Mr Ellaschuk,

Hello again.  I think of you so often and over the things that I’d like to tell you.  In recent years, I have had the opportunity to observe groups of handicapped persons whose lives I can’t help compare and contrast with mine.  Many of them live in institutions, without family or outside friends.  They have no formal education and no hope for a better environment, except for a beautiful 8-day summer camp once a year.  The majority are mentally retarded, starved for affection and companionship.  Others are emotionally retarded due to being isolated from the normal world.  Many are – like me – physically handicapped, greater and lesser, with a “normal” or even above-average intelligence, but they are unable to read.  To me, this is sad: not even to know the pleasure of books.  Even if you don’t know the outside world, at least you can read about it.  This is why I’m so grateful for my education.  I will always remember you, Mr Ellaschuk, as being an important part of the best years of my public schooling.  I still get nostalgic about that old Eagle River High.  Sometimes, I’d like to go back to the classroom.  There is something about learning in a group that deeply appeals to me, plus the constant social contact.

My great love of books is something that I inherited from Mom.  Before I went to school, Mom gave me books to explore. I still have the 1948 edition of “The Book of Knowledge” by the Grolier Society that I enjoyed so much even several years before going to school.  Then in 1952, we got a set of “American Peoples’ Encyclopaedia”.  I poured through these and other books by the hour.  As you know, Mom wanted me to go to Public School and I wouldn’t give up until I was in.  I guess there could have been many, many other schools that I could have gotten in if we had not moved to Sicamous.  But we all agree that being and staying here was the best thing that ever happened to us, considering the kind of school we got into.  There was only one short period of time, in Grade 11 I think, when I wondered if I should hang it up.  But Mom again gave me the stick-um to keep on.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many times again: I couldn’t have made it without my family.  Dad’s cars about regular transportation not only for us, but also my typewriters, desks, books and dozens of other things.  Then there is my beloved brother who gave me so much deep companionship and help.

I guess some people could say that I could have made better use of my education by going into professional journalism, or at least being a free-lance “amateur”.  It’s never too late to try.  There is no doubt, I could greatly improve my English, spelling, grammar and style.

As you probably recall, I enrolled in a correspondence course in journalism after graduation.  They wanted to send me back to a Grade 9 (or 10) level.  I had asked for the Grade 13 course.  Due to your kind intervention, they sent the first six papers of “English Language 40”.  But, sorry to say, (?) I started the first paper but didn’t get finished to send it in.  My conscience still pricks me when I think about it.  But, at the same time, I signed up for a different assignment and I’m glad that I did.  Although I could have gone back to my course a few months later, I didn’t.  I know that the course could have done me much good, even if I didn’t try to publish anything.  I do much typing since I graduated, and friends say that I have improved even without a formal journalism training.  So, if I took courses and really applied myself, I could probably get some kind of market for my works.  But, to be honest with you, trying to get into the publishing world is a long hard road which often has an elusive goal.  Even if the goal is attainable, the inner satisfaction may be lacking.  The market is greatest where the public want, not necessarily what the writer enjoys. So I’ve chosen other goals for my life.

Actually, my main purpose in life has not changed since graduation.  Perhaps you will remember the words that I wrote in the school annual of 1964 about using my education to explain my hope for the future to others and to “increase my pleasure in God’s creation.”  In the twelve years since I’ve been out of school, I feel that I have done exactly that.

We firmly are convinced the Bible contains the best guide for modern living.  It shows how to cope with every aspect of life.  It also explains where humankind came from, plus where we are going.  It explains the stream of time and what and why certain events and conditions occurred in the past or are occurring now.  More importantly, the Bible outlines how to please God and how to do His will.  All other things in life are secondary.  Matthew 6:33 reads: Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and His (God’s) righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.”  Thus, GOD’S KINGDOM is the primary goal in our life.  The Bible promises that God’s Heavenly Kingdom will take complete control of this earth, making it into a perfect paradise.  Those who seek to live by God’s standard of righteousness will be made perfect just like the earth.  Man’s idea of what is right and wrong is always changing and is full of conflict.  But God’s standard never changes.  So, if we “seek his righteousness” then we are on the right path that leads to perfect life under God’s reign.  In the meantime, it’s our duty and privilege to proclaim this Kingdom.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing this in over 200 lands and 160 languages.  Most of the 2.5 million Witnesses world-wide do their work by going to homes of the people and by holding public gatherings.  I can’t communicate with strangers very well, so I do most of my work by letter.  I truly love this part of my life and feel that I get many rewarding responses from people.  I can honestly say that I use my typewriter more since graduation than before.  In the summertime, I spend most afternoons outside, reading and staying out in the yard.  But I still type for three or four hours a day if I’m home, mornings, rainy afternoons and free evenings.  But from November to March, I’m often at this typewriter, all day and half the night: six or seven hours a day.  With that practice, my English language has to improve, even if not as good or as fast as if I had taken journalism courses.  There are so many beneficial endeavours and kinds of training in life.  But the choices we make should depend on what is most important to us.  To me, the Bible way of life is the most important, and everything else revolves around it.  May I quote another Bible verse to describe my feelings?

First Timothy 4:8 reads: “For bodily training (or any other kind of training) is beneficial for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”

Yes, our way of life has many benefits.  We aren’t only waiting for paradise to come, but we are also enjoying life NOW.  Some people may think that my life has narrowed since I left school.  But that thought would be far from the truth.

My life is not only made up of banging out letters to people about the Bible, going to meetings at the Kingdom Hall, and studying for them out in the summer air.  There is much more to tell.  So I hope that you will not tire of my windy personal history before I’m through with this letter.

As you know, Terry has been in Quebec since 1968; married since 1969.  Terry and Linda have been out here to visit us almost every year for two or three weeks or a month or longer.  One winter, they were here for almost three months.  But generally they visit us in summer.  It is always a busy time.  Friends from various places always from various directions.  Then we get together with Mom’s family in Salmon Arm for a supper or two.  Every time Terry and Linda are with us, they try to sneak away for a part of a day or two, just the three of us, for a drive, shopping and supper out and/or a movie.  Then all of us usually to go other places together; Kamloops, Kelowna, Vancouver Convention twice.  We went to the Penticton Game Farm once and the Calgary Zoo last year.  Their eventful visits would fill a book.  But their lives back in Quebec during the last NINE YEARS (!) would make a fatter one.  One year after moving out to Montreal, Terry was married.  At the same time, he entered into the full-time ministry.  Linda had already been in the same work for over two years.  When Terry first went to Montreal, he found a full-time job in men’s wear.  Then he worked only two days a week and Linda worked as a secretary two days too while spending the rest of the week in the ministry.  Next they became special representatives to open up our Bible work in new areas.  They were near Quebec City first, then in a small town up north in the Lac St John region, and next to Bagotville, a river/sea port further east.  For living expenses, they did a variety of jobs, often going back to Montreal for a week or a month.  While at Bagotville, Terry took a meat-cutting course to get part-time work.  After moving out of Bagotville, they lived in Montreal for more than a year, where Terry was the Presiding Overseer for a year in a city congregation.  Then three years ago they were assigned to Coaticook, a town near the Vermont border.  Here Terry became Overseer again, besides looking after the building of a Kingdom Hall there.  For several weeks in early summer during the past five or six years, they engaged in what we call “Pre-conventional work” which entails all kinds of arrangements, organising things before the big annual convention in Montreal.  They are in the news and administration departments.  Linda typed up numerous reports for newspapers, TV and radio, plus statements for inner communication, etc.  Terry does some of the co-ordination between the departments, I think. He also does the photography for the newspapers and even for our own magazines.  (Perhaps I can find one or two to send you.)  Terry and Linda also have a part in the Bible dramas that are put on the program, which mean much rehearsing.  Terry usually has other parts on the program as well, in the form of a talk and/or chairman.  At present, they are still partly living in Coaticook, but they are in the transition of going into another phase of our Christian ministry.  This is known as the “Circuit Work” or “Travelling Overseers”.  The whole country is divided up into “circuits”.  Each circuit includes twenty or more congregations.  A Circuit Overseer spends a week with each congregation.  They are usually moved to a different part of the country every three years.  But Terry is only in training, filling in once a month at various places and attending special elder meetings.  So it is quite a life for them.  When they were out this past July, they had just been informed of the prospect.  So their visit seems shorter than usual.  It was also busier (if that is possible), because Terry talked us into stuccoing the house while he was here.

Mom was assigned to keep the congregation’s accounts, I guess, in 1964 – the same year I was in Grade 12.  Mom had the accounts for seven years.  I used to type up the monthly statements for Mom, to be read to the congregation.  I also figured where we stood in the literature and magazine departments.  But these items were only about a quarter of the whole office. Mom did the rest.  But I got more and more involved with the accounts.  Then a Travelling Overseer came along and he roomed with us during the week (March 1971).  He took time to observe my daily activity: doing my own typing, studying and organising my own room.  I wasn’t expecting anything but I guess he liked what he saw and decided that I was capable of handling the whole office.  I was surprised and pleased.  My appointment came through and I took over.  I was even authorised in the bank to be a co-signer of cheques.  World-wide organisational changes took effect in September 1973.  This meant that a body of “Elders” was appointed through headquarters, in each congregation.  “Ministerial Servants” are appointed in the same way and are to serve under the elders.  The elders rotate their duties every September.  And whenever practical, the ministerial servants change duties too, at times.  I’m an MS but as the accounts are the only thing I can really do, I’d been doing them ever since, except for one year.  I really enjoy them, although they do get heavy at times.  I’m very glad that my High School courses could be of real benefit to me.  I couldn’t do any book-keeping commercially because it would take too much to pay for my time …

Two pages ago, I started to tell you what I did for recreation – the lighter side of my life.  But I got involved telling you other things.  I still love books and am still collecting them.  I also subscribe to many magazines: Reader’s Digest, National Geographic and many others, including several good nature mags.  Three walls are crowded with books.  Some of them look more expensive than they are because I got many of them through book clubs and other bargain outlets.  I still enjoy math and the sciences even if my high school marks were low.  My room is complete with phone, tape recorder, TV and radio.  I love typing with music.  Two winters ago, I bought the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a costly treat, but I’ll never be sorry.  It is a dream come true, which I’m enjoying so very much.  The volumes contain so much more than any other set I’ve ever seen.  To me it’s like having a ready university right in my room!  It contains comprehensive fundamentals of almost any study that my curiosity will lead me to.  During my High School days, I felt that you thought that I didn’t specialise enough in my choice of subjects.  I took a ridiculous wide range of subjects, many of which I couldn’t possibly put to any practical use in my circumstances.  I got some poor marks in those technical courses.  You must have thought that I was out of my mind.  I’m sure that I would not be allowed to do that if I were in school. In fact, I seem to remember Terry and I were only one year ahead of a new system that would prevent students from having such a freedom of choice.  I heard they couldn’t straddle the “academic” and the “vocational” programs.  These may not be the proper terms, but you know what I mean.  Anyway, this would be very disappointing me.  It’s very likely that it would be a lot more practical this way.  A student who has a burning desire to be a short-order cook does not need five years of high school – science, history, English and geography, but it is liable to make him a very dull person to be around if he only knew everything about how to make the best hamburger in Canada.  It is like some of those super electronic smart guys who can take one look at your TV and tell you what every tube is for.  With long words, he can explain the workings of every TV, radio and CD unit in North America.  But the same smart apple can’t be bothered to listen to the birds outside the window.  Or he thinks Washington DC is the same as Washington State which is 50 miles north of California.  Of course, the opposite extreme can be just as annoying: the “know-it-all” who is a “Jack of all trades but a master of none.”  Sometimes I feel that I’m like this.  People take one look at my room and think I’m a genius.  Three walls with at least 300 books and magazines packed on them.  Then they find out how much I haven’t read yet and how much I don’t know.  Then they think I must be an idiot showing off.  Somewhere between these extremes, there is the real me.  There is so much in life to learn.  Learning is fascinating and enjoyable.  I guess it is just my nature to stockpile.  In the meanwhile, my library serves as a ready reference for myself and other fact hunters.

Although I enjoy my room so much with typing letters, accounts and library, I still get lonely much of the time.  Never bored, never a lack of things to do, but rather a great desire for people.  Our Kingdom Hall meetings three times a week help greatly to alleviate this loneliness.  Here I can take an active part in congregational activity plus maintaining good friendships.  Dad and Mom are out a lot locally, doing business and running errands etc. so I’m home a lot while they are going and coming.  Callers who have nothing to do with me come and go too.  So I keep on with my room activities.  But oftentimes friends come to see us as a family and sometimes to see me mainly.  They just come to converse, play chess or cards or more often to read or to help in some way or on accounts business.  I go out with Dad and Mom to various places, visiting or shopping in other towns. Friends often take me out by myself too, which I appreciate and enjoy so very much.  Then there are the three conventions a year.  The two smaller ones, attended by five or six hundred are in Salmon Arm.  We usually go to Vancouver for the larger one each summer.  But as for any real travelling besides conventions, I have been the greatest travel bug of the household.  Especially since 1972 when I suddenly learned a big step in my self-care program that enabled me to travel with and stay with friends “on my own”.  For example, in 1973, I was away from home no less than 65 days (AND NIGHTS), only 11 days of which I spent with Mom and Dad in Vancouver, in conjunction with a June wedding and a July convention.  I spent five days in Salmon Arm, fourteen in Winfield at the Okanagan Easter Seal Camp, seven days in Grand Forks and twenty-eight in Edmonton. Needless to say, I was proud of what I could do by living with others.  The next year I went back to Edmonton for another twenty-eight days and two weeks in Squamish.  In ’75, I went back to Squamish.  Then 1976 came along and became another very special year: Alberta in June, Camp, Vancouver in July, two days in Calgary, then a young Demasson took me to Edmonton.  (Donna was a Hawley.  She was the friend who wheeled me around school to see the new addition and to see you one day several years ago.)  Anyways, I went to Edmonton on August 28.  My cousin was to come to a wedding in Calgary two weeks later, where I’d meet him, come home for one night, then go on to Victoria with him and his family.  But they couldn’t make it, so I had no way home.  Also my invitation to Victoria was still open IF I could find my own way.  To make a very long story very short, I made it into a plane and FLEW!  (I had been denied this before, because I was informed that I needed an attendant.)  I wasn’t going to phone home until I got to Victoria.  So I didn’t.  But while I was up in the air, Mom phoned Edmonton, wondering when I was coming home.  So it took some of the kick out of the phone call.  But my first plane ride was sure something beautiful and thrilling to remember.  I spent two enjoyable weeks in Victoria and then flew to Kelowna where Dad and Mom were waiting for me.  But now that the airlines have allowed me to discover them, I feel that many other treats will be in store for me.

Another treat that I must tell you a little about is the Okanagan Easter Seal Camp near Winfield.  Funded by the Lions Club, 8-day sessions are held from late May till late August.  It is for handicapped persons: both mentally and/or physically.  Most of the counsellors are in their early twenties and they sure do a marvellous job of caring for the handicapped.  They go for long hikes, pushing wheelchairs on roads, up and down hills and trails.  One morning there are horseback rides.  They have a swimming pool, an arts and crafts building, the “dining hall” which is used for much more than eating.  They have sports, games – both inside and out – film nights, a dance another night, campfire evenings with singalongs, talent show plus many other events.  There are two large bunkhouses.  One night per session.  We usually divide into small groups and sleep under the stars or go tenting.  So it’s a very busy week.  But what I enjoy most about camp is the warm companionship of the young counsellors.  Camp also gives me a wonderful change of routine, plus an opportunity to experience many things that I don’t otherwise.  Conversing and making friends with new people is a great pleasure for me.  It also gives me a chance to talk face-to-face to many about the Bible and our hope for the future.  Then, during the rest of the year, I type letters to them, both about personal things and also about the Bible.  I also type up detailed narratives of my trips and other special events.  Making carbon copies of these “travelogues” etc., I send different parts to different camp friends and other friends.  I always keep one or two copies for ring binders which I make up with photos so I’ve a permanent record of everything to share with still others.  I take these binders and my camera almost everywhere I go.

Two months ago, when I started to think about typing this letter to you, Mr Ellaschuk, I knew that it would be long but, as so often happens to me, it grew out of all proportion. Likely, I’ve included many boring details.  I am also sorry that it must have sounded like I’m on an ego trip.  I truly don’t want to be overly proud of my accomplishments.   I had mountains of help in getting to where I am now.  And I could have done different things with that help.  I could have gone OR TRIED another direction or directions.  But I’m happy with my life, also thankful,  even if the human spirit is never totally satisfied.  We always have strong desires for things and conditions that we can’t have.  And I promise that I’m no exception.  But with a faith in the God of the Bible, Family, friends, mobility, books, typewriter, music and food (in that order), I have to be very grateful for life.  Right?

Along with this manuscript, enclosed are a couple of magazines which I thought you would be interested in.  The enclosed copy of “Awake!” is two years old but it contains an article on the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Quebec, comparing the past with the present.  Then in the issue of “The Watchtower”, starting on page 690, there is a personal account written by a friend we know.  The photo of him and his wife on page 691 was taken by Terry.  I’m sure that you will find both articles very revealing.

As I said in a previous note, I sincerely wish you and your family well in your retirement years.  Hope you will use the extra time for the things you truly enjoy.  If you care to, some day when you are passing through, drop in to see us and my “work and play” room.    I’d love to see you.  If our place seems “vacant”, knock on the back door.  If no answer, try the door.  If unlocked, walk in.  Many times I am alone and callers don’t hear my “Come in!”.

Sincerely,
Mark Keddy

A Letter about Patience – Waiting, Waiting, Waiting…!

            

@ 1995?

Dear S…..,

                         Hi! My name is Boomerang Number Two, Guess who is One? You! Hey! that’s a better nickname than all the others that I have for you so far; those I have not told you yet.

                         You said that you were going to read my first letter over two or three times. But so far you have not really told me your thoughts on it. This letter is really a continuation of the same topic: TIME. In fact, most of it was done when I gave you the first part. In any case, I do hope that you will find my views too strong or me too out-spoken.

                        But here is something else, (which some people may find ironical). Inside of me, even though it rarely shows, is an almost constant aversion to wasting time. I find it very frustrating to have so much time wasted every day by being so physically dependent on others for my care. I spend literally hours every day waiting. Waiting in the toilet, at meal table, waiting for rides, phone-calls, duties and necessaries rather than pleasures, sharing in many activities that I would prefer not to. … This has been a life-time pattern for me. On the other hand, I tried so desperately to show my appreciation, co-operation, and patience to everyone especially my care-givers. For the most part. I feel that I am above average in this. But here comes the ironical part; I find it very hard to cope with those who constant do things in a hurry, especially those who are impatient. [which is not always the same thing…] … Often it will take me a hour to do a simple thing that someone else could have done in one minute. Then I see some jack rabbit who get frustrated and impatient over an extra half a minute. I have endured and still am enduring many things. I do not want a medal, nor even compliments for this. But I do expect a reasonable amount of patience from others. I try very hard to co-operate with all even those who are in a hurry. But when anyone rush me, the harder I try, the more my body is liable not to co-operate. I could give you many examples. … Also I have much more stomach discomfort than anyone knows about. Two of many things that makes it worse are being fed fast and trying to endure those people who feel that the only way to do things is in a hurry and under pressure. There are always those who think thirty seconds is too long. … This is the number one way to get in my black books.

                         Before you read my thoughts any further, I hope you will not be personally offended at them. Quite often it take a while to get to know a person and vice versa. I may even across as unfriendly sometimes. I don’t have a sour outlook on life, but neither can I pretend everything sweet beautiful. 

                        Often those who always do everything in a panic get less done and make more mistakes than the “plodder”. Please pardon me for being so outspoken; But I can forgive almost anyone anything if there are patient. I do realize that fast workers are often more appreciated and even needed than slow ones. But a person may be quick without being impatient. Taking an extra two minutes to do a little job properly is not doddering or wasting time. Rather it usually saves time due to avoiding mistakes which takes time to correct and redo. It also saves on the nerves and many other things, including frustration. It is like the guy who panic to get to a park so that he can “relax”. It is bad enough when he does it to himself, but he always perpetrate the same nonsense on his family and friends.

                         In my life, I have seen too much damage done, emotionally, mentally, and yes, even physically, due to people (especially men) not controlling their impatient spirit. the Bible is sure correct when,. at Proverbs 14;30, is says; “A calm heart is the life of fleshly organism”. In this fast-paced world, it is very hard for any of us to calm. Even people who move like snails [e.g. me] are not always calm at heart. There is a balance to everything, of course, but I still think the majority subscribe to the ‘the faster, the better’ philosophy. Every once in a while, someone will apologize to me [including you] for being “slow”. This is amusing because usually it is just the opposite. I realize that most people in our society get very frustrated at slow pokes. …

                         I try very hard not to waste staff’s time. Often I wait until they are near me before asking for things, to save them steps and time. Whenever I don’t do this, I feel bad. Or if I get talking too long. [Also I feel increasingly self-conscious and being a burden about my patio activities especially being on the swing despite continuous kind assurances from many of the staff]. I do admire how much patience and control most staff have, in carrying out of all their various jobs. On the other hand, it sure hurt me to deal with or even watch a few “jack-rabbit” workers. They expect others [including residents] to be like them.

                         Jehovah God who inspired men to write and preserve the Bible throughout the centuries, has been very patient with humankind. He created the universe, the earth, and everything upon it perfect. If you would like a fuller explanation of what Bible teaches regarding this, I would be glad to supply you with some material on it. Meanwhile ‘to make a long story short’ …, God didn’t make humans robots. God wanted us, humans to obey and to be devoted to Him, out of love, not due to force. Love that is mechanical, is not perfect, perhaps not love at all. The majority of human still think they can live by their own moral laws, and without God. As a result, the moral quality of every segment of society continues to deteriorate. Due to human greed and mismanagement, there are many areas of frightful concern; pollution, crime, poverty, famine, political unrest, general moral decline. Yet most of humankind does not wake up to the fact that God has all the answers. All the basics are written down in His written Word. Notice what it says at 2 Peter 3;9; “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance”. But this does not means that God’s patience will last indefinitely. Revelation 11;18 tells us that God’s time of judgement is very near. Humans are ruining this beautiful earth in so many ways. But God created it to be an inhabited planet of pleasure which will bring glory to Him, His eternal Godship and creationship.

                        Perhaps, I will able to do another letter to you. In the meanwhile, if you have any particular topics on which you would enjoy to exchange ideas on, please tell me. Maybe I can print you out selected paragraphs from things that I have already done.

                        I will tell you a secret; I don’t tease anyone until I know and like them. I am glad you do not mind. Not everyone is so much fun to tease as you are.
                                          Sincerely,

                                                Mark R. Keddy

My Active Mind and Self Discipline

Before I lost most of my sight, reading was always one of my greatest pleasures. Now I depend on recordings, or “live readers” to turn print into voice. Even so, I think what I wrote in 1987 (below) shares insight into my thinking. Perhaps it will help some to see why I get frustrated when bland entertainment, language or other things get in the way of hearing something worth thinking about.

1987

This essay is for absolutely everyone, wife, step-daughters, brothers, in-laws, relatives, parents, close and not so close friends, new and old friends, the staff here at Quensel Extended Care, strangers and maybe even enemies. (ha ha) As with most of my typing projects, I’m not promising when or how many pages later that it will be completed. I’m doing this one for the sheer enjoyment of it, and no doubt it will lead into several side-topics. But it is something that I should of done many years ago. Because I deeply believed that it would of helped in understanding my ways better. To me, most of what is to follow is obvious. I expected family, friends, even strangers to know certain things about me, so that they would not talk in accord. As a result, sometimes I get frustrated inside of myself when they do not recognize the obvious. But the main purpose of this essay is not to gain advantages or to win extra consideration. The main idea, intention, is a thanksgiving and even a sort of celebration for being blessed with an active mind and somehow having learned the art of self-discipline (in some areas). Goodness knows, I’m far from perfect. Anyways, if I can put the following in the way it enters into my mind last night, I’ll be more than pleased because I’ve no idea of when or how much time that I can steal for this essay, I want those who are interested in reading this to do so even if it is not finished , PLEASE. So pardon me if it leaves you hanging in mid-air, maybe you will inspire me to continue. In any case, I’d have communicated something. Also we could have continued this discussion by word of mouth. My sin in all of this is not to compare myself with the average person in the real world. Those who work for a living and/or take care of a house, home, family, and everything else need to have and harness a much more active mind than I am capable of, in my present circumstances. But to discuss this aspect is not the purpose of this essay. On the other hand, due to my relative sedentary state, most people act and talk like they have very few clues of what I use self-discipline for or even why. In this essay, I’ll use experiences and examples drawn from my life here in the unit (which I affectionately call the Quensel Extended Unit) . So, after all those preliminary remarks, let me get into the nitty gritty. Oops ! I forgot the punch line. Although I’m using examples from my life here in ” the unit” , my ways of using self-discipline on my active mind is far from new. It has truly been an established life pattern.

 Friday, January 2nd, 1987 was a fairly typical day in the unit. I ate my early bird breakfast with the early morning routine. If everything is on schedule, I’m all dressed, sitting in front of my typewriter before 9 am. But in that time, from a few minutes after and until I lay my hands on my desk, my mind goes into action. Between eating and other bodily functions and also rushing staff, it’s not always possible , but first desire is lights, clean glasses, and bible (in that order). Without them, my mind goes into many other directions, including the day ahead of me, composing pages inside my head, some of which never gets on paper. My fingers itch to type. Often frustrating, but I’d not have it any other way. I’d not want my mind to vegetate. My mind rarely goes into neutral. Life is too fascinating, too full, too worthwhile, too precious, to sleep it away or to let it slip by without as much effort as possible. I do realize relaxation has an important part in life.

But I dislike the word for personal reasons, that I don’t want to go into it here except to say this, what other people do with their time and life is their own business. But when they tell me to relax, depending on who , and under what circumstances, then I’m liable to see red.

I feel that various circumstances daily has forced me into enough periods of relaxation without anyone advocating for more ” for my sake “. usually, the times when I am apparently doing nothing is for the sake of others, and not for me. And this is one of the key points of this essay. I’m dependent on others for so much of my care. Due to this fact, I’ve never wanted and still don’t want to be overly demanding on my care-takers. This means I have to be content to wait longer than normal at times and places. The classic example is the bathroom. If I was paid hourly wages all my life for sitting upon you know what, I’d be rich. Or if I was paid for the value of everything I’ve read on the same apparatus, I’d even be richer. The facts are is that I am rich due to this. Rich in another way because reading sure has enriched my mind and life. More often than not, these hours thus spent have been very pleasurable. But it also takes an active mind and self-discipline to be able to enjoy this in the first place. Without a sufficient active mind, a person wouldn’t have an interest to read at every available moment also may I add, wide interest.

Because, take it from me, a person like me never knows when they will be stuck waiting someplace for an hour, even 2 or 3, when the only available reading material is apparently boring. You would not believe how often and how long I have been in that position. Not always, but frequently, I’ve discovered new interests and learned some surprising things because I’ve been stuck with something that I’d otherwise not read. 9 This is one thing that Quensel does not know about me yet, that the wide range of subjects that I have delved into in former years). If I didn’t have so much self-discipline, I’d be into everything constantly. To me, reading is a great pleasure.

Mark

When We were Kids – Reflections on Why Me?

When we were kids I used to save a particular choice morsel of meat to eat after dessert. When I was a child, even as a teen, I considered ourselves poor. In 1953 dad had a bad fall on the ice, while working at the planer mill owned by uncle Harold. In my memory we had many financial crisis. But we never did go without good meals, clothing, a home, and good friends. We always had a good garden and mom would buy fruit in season and did much canning. Regardless how many people think their mothers cooking was best, mom’s special recipes were widely known.

I do not know much about Terry’s friends, but they always had some special quality or talent. They were always so warm and open with me. They even knew and loved me before they ever met me, (because Terry had told them about me. Not so much about my personality as Terry was not very sentimental though he was strong minded and logical. But people’s natural response to Terry is with a deep desire and satisfaction to co-operate with him. One of the great puzzle’s of my life has always been how many people expect or think I should be content to sit idle more or less or just to read for hours, then there are others who do not care or even notice. It is hard to care for being a special friend of someone who does not want to know or share or talk or read about deeper things.

 I know that once in awhile I have asked ” why me ? ” , even though I am very sure of the answer. But I can honestly say that I have never blamed God. This is something that I am very grateful for. A belief system and an attitude to go with it to prevent me from going sour on life itself. Periodically, I do get very disgruntled, discouraged, frustrated and even angry at certain types of people , but I have never regretted living. Nor do I regret being born a handicap. I have never hated my wheelchair, because it has been and still is a very good friend. A little imagination should tell anyone how much harder life would be without wheelchairs. Sin , imperfection, the devil, death, circumstances, wrong attitudes, actions, traits, moods impatience, and ignorance are the enemies, not life and God. Intolerance is also an enemy and regrettable , I am not free of it. Many would accuse me of word semantics, but it is remarkable how much life could be improved when we avoid blaming our troubles on the wrong thing especially on fate, other people, the weather or the moon. If we keep blaming fate or whatever, then there is no need to make adjustments.

 Seeing people, especially men, getting impatient, angry, and violent at inanimate objects totally turns me off. They can use and abuse a mechanical device for years. It could have been very reliable and useful. Suddenly it is called every vile name in the book because it will not work properly. Temper is bad enough, but the attitude behind it is even worse. We all get angry, but when we start using it as an excuse for allowing abusive thoughts and actions then harm results including harm to relationships.

             When I was a child, even in my teens, the sight of loss of patience frightened me very much. I was afraid of the physical consequences as well as the un-repairable emotional damage to relationships. Gradually I got over my abnormal fear of displays of uncontrolled temper. Now it makes me feel intolerant and disgusted. I do not find it amusing or stimulating in ” entertainment “.

Many people insist on having something or someone to blame. There are some who every time they get a cold they are not happy before they figure out who was the culprit that gave it to them. Then they curse that person. Why ? Germs are everywhere, in the air. While it is true that we get a flu or cold from someone, what is the great satisfaction in knowing and blaming them ? Why so many people do this has always been one of the big puzzles and irritations for me in life.

 One of the reasons why I could not enjoy winter fully was due to dad’s moods and attitudes toward it. Like many things , including mechanical things, he would talk as if the weather had a personal grudge against him. As I found out in later years, dad, especially men, was not alone. I still think it is still more pronounced in dad. Mom never did like winter, but liked everything else, so she put up with it with logic and reason. Mom was no pacifist, fatalist, nor a polly-anna. Mom had a great deal of patience and insight. Mom always admitted that she did not like change, but she often quoted and practised the Alcoholics’ prayer (though she was certainly not one) about the wisdom to know the difference between what we can change in life and what we cannot. Mom could not change the weather, so she accepted it without continually fussing about it.

1976/77 – Alberta Highlights – Winging my way

Flight to Alberta Highlights – April 1977

            We were at the Kelowna Airport a way ahead of time (an hour & hour).  This was my 3rd plane.  Thanks to a sneaky trick by the stewardess.  I got a window seat.  She told the guy who loaded me that I need a wall to lean on.  As a result, I could see so much more than during my trips last September. (Some detailed descriptions will be found elsewhere in my binders at a later typing).  For now, it will have to be enough to say that it such a beautiful feast to the eyes, it was too much for my memory to absorb in that sight-filled hour.  I could have enjoyed even more if my innards have not been in agony (which didn’t have anything to do with me being up in the air.  But I was so intent at looking down on the sights that “my” stewardess thought that I had gone to sleep.  When we landed, she asked me if I had enjoyed my sleep.  Sorry to say, I couldn’t correct the impression & tell her how wrong she was!

            At the Edmonton Airport, Larry & little Mark were there to meet me.  The rest of the family had gone shopping in the city.  Larry’s parents (Fred & Vi) and brother  Daryl were visiting for the weekend.  All former Sicamousites.  They are now living in Grande Cache (over 300 miles NW).  They came down this weekend due to “special talk” being given at the Royal Jubilee Auditorium on Sunday.  Larry and we two Marks went home.  Soon after us, Daryl and Kelly arrived home, and then the rest came.  Meanwhile, I phoned a friend in Kelowna (Bobbie Tees), dad and Mom had just arrived there and were surprised to hear from me so soon.

            Before I go on, let me introduce my host family: The Taitinger’s.  This was my 4th stay with them.  The first visit with them was in the autumn of 73.  Larry and I were school pals for a couple of years in the mid ’50s.  Then he moved away, after which he found a wife in Calgary, who was already a mother of two.  Now they are two sons and two daughters.  They were almost total strangers to me before my first visit.  But not for long.  May, soon made me feel like a member of the family.  So did the kids.  Kelly is now 17, Cindy 13, Teena 9 and Little Mark 5.  They live 25 miles SW of the city.

            I came April 9.  That evening (Saturday), some of us went to “The Watchtower Study” at the Kingdom Hall in Calmar, a town 17 miles still further S.W. I took an instant liking to the congregation there four years ago, and my love continues to grow, as I have made several real good friends.  Right at the start, they welcomed me, conversing freely despite my speech handicap, even accepting my taking part in making comments in their Bible meetings.  Calmar is a very friendly congregation.  After every meeting (usually Sunday mornings and Friday nights), most of the friends stick around the Hall for a half hour, (some a lot longer), visiting each other which I really enjoy. 

            The territory cover by this congregation is made up of 3 or 4 small towns:   Sunnybrook, (Thorsby) and Calmar and Devon, with a lot of rural in between.  The “Watchtower Study” this week, was held on Saturday evening due to the special talk being held on Sunday in Edmonton.  I’d guess that the Calmar congregation has about 60 “publishers”.  Jehovah’s Witnesses, worldwide, call themselves Brothers and sisters.  No matter where I travel, this is exactly I feel, like everyone in our Bible-based society is my brothers and sisters especially among those in Calmar.

            Sunday, the whole family of us, plied into two cars getting to the Auditorium in good time before the program started at 10 a.m.  The speaker was Stan Szostak from our Toronto Headquarters. His theme was connected with endurance and lasted for about two hours.  But oh how I enjoyed that talk.  Besides a good pep talk about the field ministry, he went into some detailed history of the Organization.  I thought I have heard and studied a lot about the Society’s history.  But that talk told me so much more.

            As usual, I saw a load of friends, some I had expected to see, others unexpected.  Most of them re-acting the way that give me naughty pleasure: “Mark? Mark Keddy?!  What are you doing here?  Where are your dad and mom?”  I saw Roddy McKay, the Forsbloom’s (ex-Revelstoke-ites).  Laverne Miller (a Burton daughter-ex-Sicamousites.  Reg & Arlene Arnett!  Brother A was our District Overseer in the mid-60s.  He was one who visited Sicamous and my room before my “experience” was sent in for the 1966 YEARBOOK.  They were missionaries in Columbia for a few years.  Now they are Spanish/Portuguese circuit work between Vancouver and Edmonton.  And I think I saw Donna Schweitzer.  The attendance was 2,000.  The morning program was mainly for those congregations out of the city.  The program was to be repeated in the afternoon for those living in the City.

            After the program, we went for MacDonald Hamburgers.  Then we spent a couple of hours touring machine yards while I had fun in the car with the kids.

            We had picked up another passenger, a young boy from Calmar.  That night us four single boys slept like cord wood.  By noon on Monday, all the guests had left.

            The following week was “spring break” at the Devon School, so all the kids were home for me to enjoy.  Billy Rowland (age 20: oldest son of May’s sister) came Tuesday Noon to pick us all up.  We stayed at the Rowland’s while Larry worked and batched.  I spent the latter half of the first afternoon in the yard with the kids and enjoyed the sun.  The Rowland’s have seven kids, and live in Spruce Grove which is on Highway 16 west of E.  “Stoney Plain Congregation” held their regular meetings in a school classroom.  As usual, I enjoyed attending a new congregation.  This one too, has around 60 publishers.  For once, I didn’t see anyone I knew.  More than two hours later, we went home.  The rest of the gang were watching home movies, Kelly and I slept in an upstairs bedroom, as the whole household change rooms for 2 nights.

            The next afternoon, I had a good visit with “Aunty Kay” showing her my binders.  Then Bill, Kell and I went up town.  I did some shopping, and then we ended up having chicken supper in the car at a Drive-in.  In the evening, “Uncle Floyd” played me some music on tape.  That beautiful German stuff.  He saw my great love for it.  So he got another recorder and re-taped it for me to take home.  Afterward, he played some “Kingdom Songs”.  Kay and May got a songbook and sang along, nearly 20 songs.  Next day, Floyd and I continue our pleasant visit: talking, showing photos, listening to tapes, then he played a little Guitar.  Larry came around 5 to take us back.

            On Friday evening, the family got ready for a weekend in Wetaskawin.  May & I talked while she did a batch of sewing.  Kelly was out helping Larry get the crew-cab (truck) ready.  So early in the morning, we were off again.  Two days which were very enjoyable.  It was a “Circuit Assembly” of 5-600 Jehovah’s Witnesses in attendance.  I was out of my “circuit” or area.  But regardless of when or where you are, you always feel “at home” at a J.W. gathering (Compare Psalm 122:1 and 1 Peter 2:17).  There are always new friends to meet and to talk to in between programs.  I also had a few pictures taken while at Assembly; one at the back of the Hall with Cindy and I, then another picture was taken of Rene Leger and me.  Rene lives in Devon and we became new friends last September.

            A pleasant surprise was recognizing Helen Cuthbert.  She recalled how my Uncle Harvey, Aunty Nora and we stayed in her house more than 20 years ago in Vancouver during a big Assembly.  So I had a nice visit with her and her husband Clayton.  They are now living in Breton, Alberta.

            The “Circuit Overseer” for “central Alberta” is Tom Munro.  We met him, his wife, and their married son last August (1975?) in Sicamous while they were vacationing on the lake.  I surprised him by being in Alberta, and he surprised me by putting me on the platform.  Part of his last talk on Sunday was encouraging young people to go into the full-time ministry after High school.  He used me as an example, reminding the audience of my piece in the 1966 Yearbook.

 Away from home (Sept 13/76) Edmonton – Victoria ’76…. I found my wings.

             A bit of background – riding in an airplane had never been one of my strongest desires, for a common and the obvious reason of being on “Terra Firma”.  Also I love travelling, so the idea of “getting it over”: going hundreds of miles in an hour didn’t really appeal to me.  On the other hand, I love landscapes, and curious about the other side of the mountain or whatever.  Also to be able to see an over-all view of “the lay of the land” … with its lakes, rivers, mountains, valley and the plains must be especially beautiful.  Like that joyful song says: “I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation”.  I loved that song ever since I first heard it.  It has always symbolized special times of emotional well-being besides making other applications of it.  But I have just realized that it has added meaning now.  Being on a plane just exactly that feeling: ON TOP, looking down on creation.  AND the joy was sure there too!

            In 1973, the first year we took Terry and Linda to the Calgary Airport, I was all packed to go on to Edmonton.  I tried to get there by means of friends and relays.  But the possibilities seemed too uncertain, so I went back home with dad and mom.  (A friend drove me to Edmonton a month later).  But, before, at the Calgary Airport, out of curiosity, Mom asked for me, if I could travel by air by myself.  I was wondering if I could go home by plane from Edmonton.  The man behind the counter said “no”.  So we forgot about it.

            In 1974, Terry and Linda were visiting home again.  This time they went back on the train, back to Quebec.  I went with them as far as Edmonton.  My friends, the Taitinger’s were waiting for me at the train.  A month later, dad got a ride with a man going to Sask.  Then dad & I went home on the bus.  But Larry tried to save dad a trip out by talking me into going home by air.  He phoned the airlines which said they would take “wheelchair persons”.  But I didn’t believe that they would take ME.  Besides I wasn’t fussy about the idea, despite Larry’s persuasiveness. …

            In 1976, early August, we took T & L to the Calgary Airport again, which has nothing to do with this story, except to make me want Edmonton again.  As usual, I hated to return home, especially since the Edmonton Assembly was starting in a few days.  If I had made previous arrangements, I could have attended TWO “District Assemblies” (summer Bible convention).  A desire that I had for many years….

            Meanwhile, I knew that my cousin, David and his family were planning to attend a wedding in Calgary early September.  Why not go with them.  I had figured out how to get from Calgary to Edmonton with friends.  Then in mid-August, David and family (who now live in Victoria) were vacationing up Shuswap.  I though I could go back to Victoria, and stay until they went to the Calgary wedding, spending just one night here at home in between.  The plan fascinated me.  … But this was not convenient for them.  Well then, can I go to Calgary when they went thru?  David said “OK” if I could find my own place to stay in Cal.  Yes, OK Then Belva piped up and said: “Why don’t you stay home, and we will pick you up on our back from Cal and you can come out to Vic. (Dad could come on bus later to bring me home).  D & B left me thinking about it.  When I made up my mind, right!  But I want to visit both places – Edmonton and Victoria.  So it got me thinking…

            One day, shortly after, we were on the streets of Salmon Arm.  I was with dad (as usual) when I thought about the “Four Seasons Travel” office.  Let’s go, I’m curious what it would cost me to take a friend with me from Vic. to Edm. or Edm. to Vic. and the friend would have to have a return ticket too.  So we went in to inquiry.  No, it’s too costly.  But wait a minute; said the lady, “I’ll call PWA.”  PWA said you don’t need an attendant.  The personnel would load and unload you. … The lady at the travel agency was ready to book my ticket.  But I didn’t set any dates yet, nor had I made my mind up where I’d end up first:  Vic. or Edm. although I thought Vic.

            Its obvious mom didn’t take my travel agency serious, judging from the after-the-event reaction.

            One day, I was talking to Louis Demasson (the same friend who took me ’73).  He said he could possibly take me again.  I was still thinking about going to Victoria FIRST (after the wedding).  But I suddenly reversed things and wanted to Edmonton first.  I phoned Louis.  How soon could he go?  How about Aug. 28?  Can I phone Edmonton? … So it was… I wrote David: “pick me up in Cal. instead of home”. … Meanwhile, the plans had changed in Victoria of which I was unaware of.  David phoned mom:  “We can’t come to wedding but Mark is still welcome to visit us if he can find a way”.  Mom phoned Mark.  Mark is stuck in Edmonton with no way home again!  I asked mom if she would mind if I went direct to Victoria without stopping at home.  Hesitating, mom said OK, not thinking that I may try to fly.

            A few days later, I phoned Dennis Ager (near Red Deer).  I had arranged with him to take me to Cal. the day before the wedding, which of course was out now.  But was he going to Sicamous in next week or so.  His wife, Lori, just had a baby, and plan to go to Sicamous to see her parents, the Hawn’s.  He would try to go “the weekend after next”.  But I had itchy pants for Vic., so I told him that if he didn’t hear from me again, not to worry about me.

            A few days later, I phone Van Sickle’s, where I was supposed to stay 1 or 2 nights in Calgary.  I got Sharon, who already knew about David and Belva’s change of plans and had been wondering if I knew.  I asked if she knew anyone who was going to Sicamous.  “2 or 3 weeks” She told me I sounded “tired, sick and depressed”… and told me to go home and “rest up” before attempting any more visiting.  I did have a slight throat infection.  But I felt a lot better (especially emotionally) than she thought I did.  I had a special dream that I was more determined to make it come true  For many years, I had always this “strong strange” desire to go for a trip in one direction, & go in the opposite direction, going right pass home, or stopping no longer than a night.  This dream almost came true this June.  My plans failed twice this year, so didn’t want to blow it a 3rd time.  Handicapped persons often get odd desires that other people never think of.  …. At least I do. …

            In a way, I wanted to go home for a few hours.  Not due to homesickness as May would maintain.  But to pick up my own camera, my new “Cat” book, and change my wardrobe etc.) But I was afraid if I went home, I’d not get away again.

            One evening early in my 2nd week, Larry phoned the airport and got all the data on flights to Victoria, both PWA and Air Canada.  They said they would take me without an attendant.  Unlike 1974, I was the one who wanted to fly.  After the phone call, we talked about it.  I wanted to go PWA, because I didn’t believe Air Canada Would Take me.  Larry wanted me to go Air Canada because it was more direct and at a convenient time.  We argued about it for 2 days or so.  As usual, L. won.  Kelly phoned for reservations.  “We will WELCOME Mr. Keddy, Flight #167”.  Monday, Sept. 13, 6:25 pm (?)

            Kelly phoned for reservations after school one day… Then after supper, Larry helped me phone David who sounded so bright, warm, and happy.  First, I told him that mom had said and asked if they could still have me.  “sure!” “OK then, buddy, meet the Air Canada flight number 167”.  I’d phone home when I got to Victoria, not before.

            At the Airport in V, the ground crew came with my wheelchair, lifted me in it and rolled me in.  I think it was a lady who wheeled me in.  There David was, coming into a far door.  I yell for him.  I felt foolish.  There was no need to yell which is backwoodish and somewhat a sign of ignorance… It’s so more pleasant to let friends discover you without “blowing your horn”…  The next short paragraph is especially for Terry & Linda:

            What would you say if I left this at that and start telling about my first day in Vic.  What would you do to me if I describe to you in detail about a magazine article in MacLean’s on the Loch Ness monster that I read at David and Belva’s.  Well, I got this diabolic urge to do exactly that.  No, seriously, I didn’t mean to take so long in telling the background of my plane ride.  Nor did I intend to keep you in suspense for two months like I have.  The other day, I read a very interesting book on the eagle.  Can I tell you about it? Now?

 The day of September 13, 1976

             The night before, we packed most of my things, including my books.  I didn’t want to disturb things, so I didn’t even read this day.  I printed by hand a note to Dennis and Lori, saying I was sorry for not seeing them, hoping that there will be a next time… I asked Larry to mail it AFTER I was gone.  Just in case.  I was still not sure “the management” would take me when they saw me.  Larry had no such doubts, but teased me about it just the same. 

            I was lazy all day, just sitting and talking.  After lunch, I went down to romp around on the floor.  Something which I found is good for me for more than one reason… Little Mark was on the floor too, playing with his big mechanic toys:  Trucks, Vans, dump trucks, front-end loaders, graders, etc.  I lay down on the rug.  Then the little monkey began loading all these heavy toys on my back and legs.  You can’t get up now, he said.  When I try to get up, he piled more on me.  I wish I had a photo of it.  It felt funny with all that uneven weight on me, and them toys that roll and bend every which way.  Strange as it may seem, I have always loved the feeling of weight on me.  As usual, the school bus came at four, dropping Kelly, Cindy and Teena off.  Supper to get.  I made the mistake by answering that I was not hungry due to nervous stomach.  Nevertheless, the family needs supper.  Larry came home from work little late.  After we ate, Kelly gave me a bit of a wash, changed my clothes…  and collected up some odds and ends while Larry finished packing.  I was uneasy, time etc. and sorry to say, grumpy… I was supposed to be at the airport an hour before departure time to get my ticket.  We were not there for that hour.  We left the house and headed South pass Devon, then East on a bumpy, unpaved.  It felt like we were flying in that truck already!  Teena was singing at the back of the “Econoline” van.  In fact, I think she was in my wheelchair.  In any case, my wheelchair was dancing both to tune of Teena’s voice and that of the road.  Cindy on the right, a seat facing side-wise cracking smiles at me.  Reminding me to do likewise.  I was in the “co-pilot” seat sitting angle-way, legs straddling the tall hump.  Kelly and May, with little Mark on her lap, were behind me.  May had one arm around little Mark and her other hand watching out for me.

            Finally we got to the “Edmonton International Airport” south of the city.  Highway #2 nearby, so familiar and loved by me.  A dozen lanes circling into Airport, but Larry winds his way right to the main doors.  He pushed me through inside, then he and Kelly went back for my luggage.  (Larry had tied my bookcases, a longish box, and my wheelchair cushion and tray together in a unique way).  My camera was packed away, sorry to say.  I’d love someone there to take several pictures of the proceedings… especially of the plane, outside and inside.  (Also I told Cindy days before that I wanted a picture of her and me in our matching red sweaters.  We had them on tonight, but we were in too big a rush to do anything about it.)  During the five minutes that Larry was away to bring my luggage in, May had pushed up to the ticket wicket.  May explained that reservations were made for me by phone and were to pay the ticket and I was ready for take off.  A pleasant-looking woman (age 30+?) suddenly looked worried: “He can’t go alone; I don’t think…”… She went away for a minute, returning 50-ish man who looked even more concerned.  To all intentions, I had a “no way” for an answer.  Then Larry arrived on the scene.  It would be an understatement to say that this was not the first that I had seen Larry’s proficiency in argumentation.  They had said “yes” on the phone.  But he needs an attendant for communication.  (I had Cindy print me a note for my pocket before we left “home” stating who I was, and from where and to where I was going complete with names and phone numbers, and that I was of normal intelligence and how to communicate with me… spelling it out with pencil if necessary.  They put this right in my ticket later).  They worried about me getting scare due to air turbulence and ask if I had been up before.  (They shook their heads over that one).  But Larry told them about me being out in public alone a lot: school, rehabs, camp etc.  Not once did they talk to me direct.  I was always “he” not “you”.  But what if he needs to go to the washroom?  Larry said: “he has prepared himself… (which I had), then told them examples of my amazing holding abilities).  Friends often are amazed and sometime offended at my lack of “modesty”.  Here is why, handicapped persons are subject to a lot worse indignities than the above… I any case, thanks to Larry, they reluctantly and still with worried looks, let me buy my ticket.  I wanted to pay by cheque; they wanted two pieces of identification.  I had only one:  Social service card.  But they accepted my cheque, asking for my home phone number which I rattled off.  Larry had a few seconds trouble with interpretation, but I bet this showed them that I was not a 100% dumb bunny.  At last, they gave Larry my four baggage tags.  Soon my belongings were on the conveyor belt.  A man came with an airport wheelchair.  Mine had been tagged, and Larry transferred me.  My things were gone, so I must be going too.  Right?  All the family gave me a nice kiss and hugs.  Larry wheeled me through the metal detector “manned” by a friendly lady.  Larry was allowed through into the “inner waiting room” with nice window view of the airfield.  (normally, this room is for passengers only).  Larry and I talked for two minutes… (I was still uneasy, but my grumpiness feeling inside went on the road.  Something that I forgot to mention earlier on this page was while I was getting ready; Larry and Kelly played a joke on me.

 Up in the Air, but calm

 The phone rang. L. answered it, and K went out of “my” room.  They both came back to see my face drop when they said that my flight has been canceled… Sorry to say, I gave them a dirt- look when they said they were fooling.  But now, at the airport everything was REAL).  I was to be the first one to board and the last one off.  So it was.  Two men came in.  In that big room where there were only us.  “Here is where we part” Larry said.  Them crazy Alberta airports, there is no way bystanders can watch the planes coming or going (like B.C.) anyways, the two men wheeled me through a door, up a ramp and into the Jet’s nose.  Where another man stood wanting my boarding pass.  He tore it off and gave part of it back in my hand.  I stuck it under my belt.  Larry had asked them if I could have a window seat due to it being my first time up.  But I was put on the seat next to the aisle (first row, left side).  They put my coat up top and fasten my seat belt.  The seat next to me had belongings on, which I was soon to learn was a little chubby girl (age 6?) named “Cindy” of all things!  On the other side, was a mother with a toddler, coming from Windsor Ontario.  Her home was in Victoria and later said that it had been a long day.  I could help thinking how it could be a long trip on a plane coming “only that far”.  But anyhow, I thought she was the girl’s mom.  Then a relative or close friend.  But maybe she had just an “adopted friend” for the duration of the flight.  In any case, the girl proved to be both an interesting addition and a disadvantage to my trip.  It only took her a few minutes to warm up to ask me a million questions like “have you been in a plane before?”

           It felt funny to feel the banging beneath us as they load the luggage in the belly.  It added to my anticipation.  Finally we pulled away and we taxied to the runway.  I could look out the windows on both sides.  They seem so small, but I could see so much.  I put my head & neck on pivot, constantly swinging methodically.  My body felt good that day.  I was excited, but felt calmer more and more as I contemplated the blessings of living.  As we were taxiing out to runway, we turned a few corners.  Saw a bunch of buildings, streets, main highway etc.  The clicks of the wheels as we passed each section of pavement.  Then there it was!  Out that window.  See that endless runway and sky.  We turned onto it.  We stood there for a few seconds as the motors speeded up.  Then go!  Faster and faster.  But to see that runway before we turned on it was an experience in itself.  Me in the blue yonder.  And the moment that we lifted off the ground was so nice.  So smooth.  Then we began tipping from side and side: “banking”.  This should have made me nervous, but it didn’t.  I loved it.  Alberta was clear, sunny and beautiful.  I was afraid before, that I was going too late and it would get dark too fast, even if I knew I was heading in right direction – west.  But Larry assured me that it wouldn’t.  It was true, the visibility was wonderful.  But going back to “banking”, what a unique experience.  You look out one side to see everything, then the plane would bank to the other side.  Each side had a different view.  Like I said:  “Clear!”.  My beloved open Alberta country.  The only problem is that it didn’t last long enough.  Next came the Rockies.  Beautiful contrast.  But when we still “banking” in the open country, I can’t stop marveling at the feeling and the views.  My eye would go straight over the seats, through those windows, seeing the patchwork of the lands I wish I knew the location of.  Someplace near the foothills, I guess, wouldn’t it be a coincidence it was near the back country that the Langstaffs and David and Belva and I went into in June.  Anyways, it was a basin-type country partly ringed by hills.  A little lake in the centre.  A river ran in it from a far.  A thinner line of water was winding its way on the other side.  It was a Geographer’s dream.  I thought of my Encyclopedia Britannica and how it re-awakened my fascination with geography.  Now I was actually seeing landscapes from the air instead of reading the descriptions of them.  The E.B. does a lot better job out of it than I am doing now.  Near the B.C. border, I guess, clouds began to appear below us.  They announce the altitude that we were to be flying shortly after Edmonton.  35,000 keep coming into my head.  But could that be possible?  In any case, we were above the clouds.  And to see that thick white blanket under you was something else.  It was hard to believe I was here especially since my family and most of my friends didn’t know.  Strange thrill!  Next we were right in the clouds.  …Then we were out and above them again.  Way at a distance, you could see moving, pink in a blue sky.  There were a few announcements over the intercom, but only one location was mentioned.  And guess where.  “We are now flying over the town of Enderby!”  All socked in with clouds.  I’m over you, home country, but you’d not know.  As we near Vancouver, it was getting dusk.

 Still on the Wing

Going back to the song that I referred to 4 pages ago: “On top of the world looking down on creation”, it’s very special to be able to see down on the beauty of the earth.  It reminds me of some of the remarks made by those who have been out in space.  They said the earth looks so colorful, in comparison to the moon & other planets… It’s alive… I love those photos of different areas of the earth taken by satellite, which is very different from ordinary serial photography.  The differences between space travel and air travel is unquestionably enormous.  But both undoubtedly afford a marvelous view of creation each in its own way.  I’m not ready to go into space, not just yet (ha! ha!).  I had heard some say that they would go tomorrow if they had a chance.  But there are a few other things that I’d rather do first, even before I think about it e.g., explore the earth for a few thousand years.  ….I any case, “looking down on God’s Creation” is a delight supreme.  It can’t help but make a person think about some of the Bible Psalms, especially such as 96 and 104.  Here are some selected line:

“Sing to Jehovah, bless his name.  From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him.  Declare among the nations his glory.  Among all the people his wonderful works.  Dignity and splendor are before him; Strength and beauty are in his santuary.  Say among the nations: ‘Jehovah himself has become king.  The productive land also becomes firmly established so that it cannot be made to totter.  Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be joyful.  Let the sea thunder and that what fills it.  Let the open field exult and all that is in it.  At the same time let all the trees of the forest break out joyfully.  HE (Jehovah) will judge the productive land with righteousness.  And the peoples with his faithfulness.”

 Psalm 104:

“The one building his upper chambers with beams in the very water, making the clouds his chariot, walking upon the wings of the wind, mountains proceeded to ascend, valley plains proceeded to descend – to the place that you have founded for them.  He is sending springs into the torrent valleys: between the mountains they keep going on.  He is watering the mountains from his upper chambers.  With the fruitage of your works the earth is satisfied.  How many your works are, O Jehovah!  All of them in wisdom you have made.  The earth is full of your productions.”

             Being able to travel above the clouds, land on the moon, or go to other planets should not make man feel superior in any way, as if they became gods, or think they have entered into God’s domain, like angels.  We aren’t any closer to God, when we are in space than we are on earth.  We shouldn’t even feel that we are.  On the other hand, it should enhance our appreciation of HIS CREATION, the earth especially.

             Now I want to go back and tell you about my traveling companions.  As I said, this little girl named “Cindy” was one of them bundle of curiosity.  Our introduction reminds me of Melanie.  Cautions, but bold, at first, and then continue testing to see what you were made of.  She was clever, precocious, but most likely not as “worldly-wise” as M was, nor with M’s keen empathy, nor her affectionate ways.  But it’s unfair to make comparisons on just an hour.  In any case, she wanted to get my attention and hold it.  As you know, I had my mind on sight-seeing.  Her aim was to get to know this strange person.  You know me, strangers and friends, I don’t mind how many personal questions they throw at me, as long as they aren’t REAL stupid in their way about it.  Most aren’t and “Cindy” wasn’t.  I’d answer her with mostly one word answers while I peer out windows, hoping she would take a hint and stop demanding my attention.  But no chance.  Realizing she was not getting too far in the “personal questions” she switched to the view that I was trying to see.  Several minutes before, I lifted myself up and leaned over, maybe a bit too far over her.  I felt that she didn’t really appreciate it.  But kept talking, and when I was looking on the other side (away from her), she wasn’t satisfied even less.  So she started to talk about the scenery, hoping for more response.  Then she pulled one shade down on the window farthest to her.  “We don’t need both windows to see out of”, she said.  Five minutes later, she pulled the shade closest to her.  She had a look on her face as if to say: “Now I got you”.  By now, there wasn’t much to see out of the other side of the plane.  (We weren’t tipping).  I gave her a look.  Acting innocently, she asked “do you want the shades up?”  Typically for a child, she acted like: “oh, good, finally I could do you a favor”.  Don’t laugh if you think this is a ridiculous deduction on my part to put words in her mouth.  Children often “invent” or manipulate the circumstances to make them appear a certain way.  In this case, that wasn’t her original aim, but… sorry to say, I must have been a disappointment to her.

 Still winging my way

 Now for the lady from Windsor.  She was a very pleasant acting and speaking person, I guess in her 30’s (?).  Pardon me; she was COMING FROM Windsor Ontario after a visit.  She was going back to her home in Victoria.  Her baby did not make any fuss during the flight.  “Cindy” was across the aisle to visit for two minutes.  The lady was friendly toward me.  She surprised me by the way she could understand my speech so fast.  She asked me if Edmonton was my home or if Victoria was.  It gave me a thrill to tell her that it was neither.  I named her a few towns, but she did not know her geography too good.  …But she understood me so well, I was tempted to talk and tell her a lot more about myself, but I don’t know if I pressed my luck or not.  We were in “no smoking section”.  I know that there are more and more non-smokers in the country.  But I could not help wondering if she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Just because of the way she looked, talked and acted.  I could imagine us having a surprising “re-union” at the Kingdom Hall in Victoria.  We didn’t.  Even though, there are several congregations in V, probably it was only my imagination.

            Shortly after leaving Edmonton, they announce supper for those who wanted it.  One of the stewardesses asked me, but of course, I said no.  Even if I had wanted to, I never attempt to eat when alone in public, especially on my first plane trip.  Can you imagine what kind of problems that I could have created for AIR CANADA?  They would have black-listed me for sure.  But I was very pleased that she asked me.  As far as I could tell, they weren’t many who had.  Likely most of them had eaten before, including those who were in before Edmonton.  The young mother had a few goodies of her own, which “Cindy” share in. (I was offered some too).  But a stately gentleman one seat behind ate his supper so neatly having a quiet conversation with a lady seat companion.  I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

            I didn’t know anything about the routines on planes, so everything was new to me, of course.  So I’d not know what was unique and what was not.  But this plane had a curtain dividing the passengers from the other parts of the aircraft.  The stewardesses were always shutting and closing these silly curtains after every announcement or job.  At the start of the flight, one does the welcome and introduction in both English and French.  She demonstrated the use of the oxygen mask, and where the six exits were, recommended reading the booklet beside each seat.  No smoking during take-off or landing, when the sign light come on and off with a ding, plus no smoking at all in the first 5 rows.

            The intercom announced 5 minutes ahead when would land in Vancouver.  I can’t seem to remember any views coming in.  The airport is south of city.  So somehow I think we circled in around the south.  In any case, it was cloudy.  Tipping downward is exciting.  I think the maze of freeways and streets of Richmond was the first sight I saw.  If my memory serves me correctly, even “Cindy” was interested.  Then we hit the runway with a soft bump, another neat feeling to enjoy.  On the ground, the engines seem to race faster, and felt like we would plow into the buildings.  But we didn’t.  Instead, we were neatly beside the covered unloading ramp (or wherever you call it).  “Cindy” picked up her coat etc. and left without a backward glance.  The lady said “bye Cindy” as she was heading out.  Also said: “Your mom will be glad to see you”.  There were only a few who stayed on board for Victoria.  But many others came on.  Meanwhile, and until Victoria, the lady and I chatted.  Once, I started to say something involved and stopped myself.  It was a 20 minute wait in Vancouver.  It was dusk when we got in, but DARK when we took off for our final lap of ten minutes.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed the take-off sensation all over again.  Coming into Victoria below the clouds, but not too low, was a real enjoyment.  The dark sea, contrasted with this half-crescent of BRIGHT LIGHTS. …Down again with a soft bump and that blinked airport rushing straight for us.  Somehow, we came to a stop a few meters before the airport building.  As promised, I was the last one off.  In Victoria, you have to climb out of plane by ladder.  They brought my wheelchair up (2 men) and took me down, in the open air and light rain.  (see page 2, paragraph 5).  While I wait for David to get my luggage and load into his car, I was near the “rent-a-car” desks, watching… Then David came back and we went out to the car, still raining.  17 miles in the night, skirting the city.  We arrived at 305 Gull Road around 9 p.m. which would be home for the next two weeks.

 

 

 

Thanks to “WordQ”

WordQlogoI would like to say “thank you very much” to WordQ software. My Cerebral Palsy has progressively limited my mobility as I grow older. I always typed with one or two fingers but it takes longer and longer to complete a few sentences. With the use of WordQ predictive software I have been able to make much better progress in getting my life story recorded. I was able to record phrases that I use frequently and certain quotes so that my writing was speeded up. I heartily recommend this program and hope that others will benefit from it as much as I did. They now have a “SpeechQ” program as well. www.GoQsoftware.com

Letters to Care Staff, Baker Lodge, Quesnel

LETTERS TO THE STAFF AT BAKER LODGE, QUESNEL, B.C.

Here is a copy of a letter I wrote more than two years ago. But it will give you a sample of some of my feelings. I have many other thoughts on my computer. If you want to, please give me a few things that you are especially interested in, and I may be able to put something together

March 23, 2002

Dear Staff,

I would very much like this letter or part of it to be on the staff bulletin board for a while.

I did most of this letter in late September. But sorry to say, I have allowed one thing after another to interfere with getting back to it. Then I keep correcting, adding, deleting and re-arranging parts.

I am going to try to put the highlights first, then if you have time and are interested in the details, read on, or you could ask me for a copy to loan or keep. As usual, I had hope that this letter would not become long for your sakes, but as you can see, it did not turn out that way.

I want to give you all a special thank you for a very special summer of 1989. Words are not enough to express how much it meant to be able to sleep so many times on the sun deck on the swing couch.

Thank you very much for your understanding of my strange and ongoing fascination of staying up all night and being in bed during the day. May I re-affirm that I am looking forward to continuing this habit three or four times a month. I do this for my own pleasure, and not out of a false or mistaken sense of a work ethic.

Whatever you really think of me now or in the future, if or when we are no longer together, I do hope you will remember some things about me including the following:

[1] I never pretended to be perfect, but try hard to live by a  set of standards

[2] I feel a real need to admit to my mistakes and weaknesses.

[3] I try very hard to obey a rule when given one, even if I at times, chafe on account of it.

[4] I do care about the feelings and concerns of others.

[5] I am truly fond of staff

I try very hard to live by a conscience trained both by a religion and personally. Included in this, is to respect other people’s rights, and feelings, and not to be overly demanding. Being handicapped, it is a constant struggle to avoid. Every time I begin to think that I am doing good in this area, a series of incidents occurs to give a glimpse of how poor I am.

Many of you tease me about various things including my religion. THIS IS O.K! Sometimes it may seems as if I get upset or disapprove depending upon the time, my mood and the source. But, PLEASE! I BEG YOU, DO NOT STOP! Teasing among friends is a form of GENUINE affection, and as I learned to GLADLY accept (since coming to the UNIT), it is a wonderful way to relieve tension. Also it has made me less sensitive and has given me more emotional balance. So, PLEASE! I BEG YOU, DO NOT STOP!

I want to give you (staff) a special thank you for a very special summer. I am finding it impossible to express how much it have meant to me to be able to sleep so many times on the sun deck on the swing couch. To be out there during sunsets and dawns were dreams come true. It is truly addictive, and I do appreciate your being so indulgence with me. I enjoyed being out there in all kind of summer weather. How can I tell you my feelings? I love the stars, the “northern lights”, mini-storms at nights. The wind and the showers, sunsets, day break, the air in my face. Going on the swing couch in the early morning (after being up all night), drifting in and out of sleep, watching the clouds, feeling the sun, were all enjoyable. God has given us so many things and sensations in life to enjoy, didn’t He? … Being out there alone at nights were even more special to me, invigorating. Life on earth is so enjoyable and fascinating. The Bible promise is that the earth will be made into perfect and an everlasting paradise for the majority of obedient humans (including those who await resurrection from the grave). God has his own solution for pollution, crime, “overpopulation”, and hundreds of other problems that plague the earth today.

I regretted and I felt very frustrated because I had promised myself that I would not push it to the limit of the season causing myself in order not to take advantage of the staff’s kindness and patience. When I am embarrass myself, I often act offended which makes matters worse, because I do not intend to give the wrong impression. Usually, I do not get mad at staff for looking out for my best interests. I do get upset at staff for other things, but not for this. even if I must admit that it was hard to give it up until hopefully next spring, I very reluctantly agreed that it is getting too cold and damp at night. I do realize the fall air is not the same as spring and summer: much more damper.

Even though I have always felt that nobody on earth have understood how important time is to me, …, I do realize that I could use it a lot less self-centered than I do. It seems like that almost every time, someone ask me to do something for them, the Unit or whatever, I panic. And it looks like I do not want to do it. Then I get a conscience attack for being so selfish and getting out of any extra jobs. I am sorry, most likely to you, Doris and Josie. …

So do you think that we can work out some compromises? Quesnel, not the least of which have been the Unit, is continuing to be a very unique period of my life. I am sorry that I can’t promise a lot. But what do think of a set goal of hours(??) per month for me to do extra jobs for the Unit? Likely this would involve the computer, especially since the Unit was responsible for introducing and giving me this new love of my life.

But whatever I do for anyone, please give me adequate instructions and give me a hand to set up. Often here is where most of my time goes. Also I do appreciate knowing when there is no scheduled “Activities” [for me], so that I don’t have to wait around.

None of the staff have plied unnecessarily into my private business, which I have greatly appreciated. At the same time, you have been able to smoothed my ruffled feathers many times. Also, for your sakes, I want to control the amount of my ’emotional leaning’ on any of you. And I do feel bad, FOR YOUR SAKES when I do get upset over various things. I do realize that I may not able to do much in return. I do not want to be any more “nosy” than my reputation already says that I am {Ha! Ha!}. But I only want you to know that I am not adverse to listening to your concerns. I am not trying to be presumptuous to think I can help much. But I would like you to know that I do care.

After I could not sleep on the swing overnight any longer, I had hoped to stay up more nights than usual, so that I could have slept on the deck during the day more. But I did not do it due to the unpredictable fall mornings, and other commitments. When some of the staff make a ‘ruling’ about something, It would be usually unfair of me to overrule it even when others think I should.

YOU do not know how often lately I feel so self-indulgent. … On the other hand, no one realize how often I deny myself treats when I really want them. often for very ridiculous reasons OR because I do not want to be always asking for “favors”. AND I DO NOT SAY THIS IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE ANYONE FEEL BAD. but I do try to consider others, and not to be more a nuisance than necessary. I always  had this annoying habit. it disappeared for quite a while when I came here, but sorry to say, it is back.

While not pretending to be comfortable or compatible with all, staff has become like A family to me, even if I do not always show it. [It is like if I had three very different families; the other two being my blood family, and then my Quesnel JW friends]. We enjoy different persons for different reasons. … The same with staff. I am fond of most of you, all for different reasons. So, due to this fact, I enjoy and eagerly look forward to each one of you being on “9 – 9” (8:30 – 8:30) because of various reasons. The same apply to the RN’s and the 5 hour aid due to their getting me up. Or those on evenings and nights. What I am trying to say is that I do not only enjoy your personal care of me, BUT I ENJOY YOU AS PERSONS, your personality, your conversations, your teasing etc. I want to admit that I am becoming increasing uncomfortable about the fact that I am always on the receiving end in here. I would like to give a little in a return. I often eagerly look forward to many of you to return after days off and especially after your vacation. then at the crucial moment, I act nonchalant, or even worse ask for something. So I get upset with myself. I have never pretended to feel and act the same way toward all. No one can honestly can. … Granted, staff have to treat all the residents impartially, being friendly, caring and supportive of their needs, wants, and even their idiosyncrasies, thereby giving the little quality that is possible in their cases. I truly admire you, as staff in this. YOU do this even when it is hard and to those who do not respond normally and those who seem to spurn your efforts. I must confess, in comparison, I fall a lot short of your patience. … I do admire you because I know how often and how much some of the residents irk me. I know I should be more tolerant.

I find it very hard to ask things of those I feel uncomfortable or incompatible with. I I know I carried it to far, I often deny myself treats and even necessities rather than those who is obviously in a hurry. With a few, this is chronic.

I truly admire you, all for genuinely emphasizing the positive side of everything. Any of you who have worked here for ‘any reasonable length of time’ develop unique, and even weird sense of humor. Also you find many things amusing, likeable, and companionable about each resident. It is truly a joy to observe this in all of you. These and many other “Little things” is what makes “The Unit” a true home, and not “just a Hospital”. This place has never been a “hospital” to me.

You, Staff have been so kind to me even giving me companionship and putting up with even encouraging my idiosyncrasies. I suppose my teasing and joking with staff is a way to get more attention, but this is not the main reason I do it. … In many ways, I feel that I get more than my share of attention around here. As for my other strange habits, I certainly do not do them to get attention. On the contrary, I often am embarrass when I sleep outside, staying up all night, then being in bed during the day (especially after a morning bath), not wanting any bed attire, plus many other things. I do not know of any other things that give me so much comfort and pleasure than these things and yet why should give me so much embarrassment. ALSO BE ASSURED that I am not blaming staff for causing me this embarrassment, because it is me! On the contrary, most of you are constantly encouraging me, of which I am thankful, I do is expect, nor do I want you to comply with my every wish. …

I want to re-emphasize the fact that the number one reason why I stay up all night regularly is for my sheer personal pleasure. I actually crave and am addictive to the sensations received from being in bed during the day overtired. Believe me it is NOT a plea to get more attention. Usually it is not even in an effort to get more “work” done, even if it is true that this is indeed a side benefit. Neither do I expect extra meals, time, or whatever with staff. I have enumerated many side benefits before. … but I do not want to hide my real reason from any of you, staff, which is VARIOUS SENSATIONS RECEIVED. …. [When I am in bed all day, my usual pattern is: (1) deep sleep = four hours, (2) wake and/or doze for two hours (3) then that final hour or so of sweet sleep]. Now after saying that, I would to tell you something amazing. I honestly feel that it is good for me. Besides providing a break in routine which I seem to need, it give me pleasurable sleep which usually I do not have. There are several things that keep me awake nights: [1] My stomach give me much discomfort [as most of you are aware] when in bed. No one really know how much I have suffered over the years [largely in silence]. My stomach discomfort comes in many forms. … One is regurgitation. Liquid and especially swallowed toothpaste can give me agony for hours after I am in bed. {Once in a while, I can dare ask for water while in bed without repercussions IF my stomach is empty and when very thirsty} [2] An overly active mind. (but that is O.K. because I want to keep that). [3] Then there are all sorts of annoying twitches, itches (including. my scalp.), limbs jump and other strange sensations usual for two hours. Some of these I did not have until three or four years ago. So these are the reasons why I often do not enjoy bed. But once asleep I am OK. After I can wake up for a while and go back to sleep without discomfort.

But whenever I stay up all night or even very late, and then go to bed, I do not have these annoying sensations. Instead, I get several pleasant sensations. … Even I sleep better the following night. … I was amazed at how much better I slept outside especially at night, with so much less of those strange sensations. Here again I want to repeat that the number one reason why I slept out on the swing regularly is for my own personal pleasure. Nor am I trying to “increase” my GRB reputation. Believe it or not, I often wish I and my strange habits were a lot less noticeable and I also wish I would stop trying to explain why and how much I enjoy them.

Strange as it may seem, all my life, I have always enjoyed waking up either in the morning (to get up) or even during the night to go back to sleep. This is why, besides the value and the comfort of turning over, this is why I never get upset at being awoken ANYTIME. On the contrary, I find it a pleasure. Despite its frustration and problems, I have a very deep appreciation and love of life. So waking up to me is a re-occurring proof that I am still alive. Perhaps, in the context, this may sound corny. … but I always have felt this way. … ALSO I hate ringing my bell only because I am lying uncomfortably, (and/or several other things). So often a couple of minutes of your careful attention prevent two or three hours of discomfort and waste. Very often, that last hour or two is the sweetest. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE WHEN I AM IN BED DURING THE DAY.

I hope no one will take the following remark the wrong way. But an Extended Care Unit is home for its residents. But staff is what makes it home for us.

I have said it many times before, and I will keep on saying it. I was not forced in here by anyone, not even by circumstances. On the contrary, many of you have some idea of how much, it have been my own will to come and remain here, despite feeling under great pressure to do otherwise. Some of this pressure was due to an exaggerated sense of obligation, complicated conscience on various things, plus not knowing my obligations nor what is really expected of me. [I still don’t]. At times, it is so hard to paint the picture fairly. Anyway, I am glad that I am still here.

Thanks you all, Staff, for making my home, the home that it is.

With much appreciation and fondness,   Mark R. Keddy

March 23, 2002

Dear staff,

I like to do a general letter to staff at least once a year. I began this one in November 1990. I had problems with it ever since. Now I have decided to make two versions of it. A shorter one for all. A longer one only for those who want it.

First, thanks again for the continuing good care received this year [1990] and allowing me considerable freedom of choose. A special thank you again for putting up with my idiosyncrasies, especially for granting me the privilege of sleeping on the swing, the all nighters and arranging outlandish bedtimes. I find it so hard to try to explain to all of you why this mean so much to me, If anyone really want to know several of my sequences, and why, let me print up you some of my notes on it. … But in a nutshell, getting overtired, then being in bed during unusual times give me sheer pleasure that I can not experience in any other way, especially after a hot bath.

By the way, Barb Harringshaw [January 28, 1991] surprised me by saying that my hips and legs are in better condition when I lay regularly on the swing. Frankly, I find this hard to believe myself, but it would be a wonderful excuse to get more swing time! Ha! Ha!

I try so hard to keep mindful of your heavy work load, and how frustrating it is to put up with all of us residents’ quirts. I feel bad whenever you have to put with mine. You staff are so good in so many ways. … so I have caused more than my share of disturbances this year.

But I do find it how to cope when I get static for doing things when I have already been encouraged by the majority [who consider my requests reasonable]. I do not want to be unreasonable, nor take undue liberties nor start any more controversy than I already have. .

My new arranged weekday “free times” {during which I will skip regular activities} are; one morning {usually Tuesdays},

and two afternoons {usually Wednesdays and Fridays}

I do realize how hard it is for you to understand how I feel about time. I have longer evenings and even nights than any other residents to do what I want; to go out, to visit, to phone, to be on the computer, to read. Usually I do my own projects, because I enjoy them, not out of a sense of obligation. But I like to skip some other activities without feeling embarrassed or guilty about it. …

I found summer of 1990 more frustrating than usual because so many things, including some very lame excuses from a constant few, I was inside more than I needed to be, even only to read. Being in the warm shade bring me so much more pleasures than being in a “wonderfully dark cool” room. Within reason, I like to experience all seasons, different types of weather, and different times of days and night. ***…

All teasing aside, I read for my own satisfaction … and also to get even more enjoyment out of our to the Kingdom Hall meetings. … I do not read to elicit praise, criticism, or comments. I am REDEEMING my time. So this should be a happy compromise for waiting for meals and activities.

The West nurse is very good in asking when and where do I wanted to go. But during weekdays, It is pointless to return to my room or patio between meals and activities. But I do appreciate knowing in advance whenever possible when there is no activities for me. …

Here are some other helpful reminders;

[B] Please tie my bib tie tight around the neck, and protect pants

[C] When I ask for something, I do not object to waiting

[D] My mind and body do not re-act properly when being rushed.

[E] I need at least my right shoe on for several reasons.

[M] If not fluster, usually it takes me only 30 seconds to save my work, before leaving the computer, but those 30 seconds are crucial.

[N] Please open curtains all day, all night except rare requests,

[O] Want a wet bed? lay me on wrong side and/or the bottle wrong way.

[P] I can even weight bear if given a proper chance

At times I get tired of trying so hard to keep my radio/tapes uncomfortably low. Once in a while I wish I could turn up a goody when the mood hit me, to find someone enjoy my types of music. I do enjoy my radio left on all night; enjoying late night concerts before going to sleep, then waking up to CBC’s informative local “Day-break” program, but not loud.

Since coming here to Quesnel, I have done much less choking, coughing, gagging, sputtering etc. than any other period of my life. But recently, old habits have returned to some extent. Here are some causes; please believe;

  •  mush up foods often gag me.
  •  I cough a lot when stomach is upset or nervous, rather than “a cold”.
  •  Do not try to force a straw in my mouth when it has food in it.
  •  drinking when eating. (I drink after )
  •  If you are holding a drink please hold it low enough.
  •  A sip of water after a meal often make me feel sick for hours
  •  swallowing toothpaste, is real bad, keep my head forward.
  •  I can’t tolerate Mylanta any longer.(Tagamet or Gravol please)
  •  No drink in bed except when real thirsty or keep bed way up
  •  Eating near bedtime {2, 3 hours} often cause untold misery.
  •  skipping a meal bring benefit;an empty stomach rarely harm me.
  •  please do not deprived me of hard, chewy, tough, dry foods.
  •  thinking or talking while eating often result in problems.
  •  do not try to force an answer when mouth is full.
  •  DO NOT PAT ME ON THE BACK when choking, or trying to cough
  •  a hearty cough is good, please do not panic.
  •  Worry, eating fast, and laying down are the top three causes.

I look forward to AM and PM care plus those last few minutes at bedtime to visit. I try not hard to ring my bell needlessly, to save staff’s time and effort. But I do enjoy your undivided time at these times. Talk about anything you want to me. But it is annoying when two staff visit together while doing care, like I were a log. Some times they say very personal things like I was not there. Please do not expect me to have automatic shut off valves on my ears.

This is as short a version that I can make it, without fiddling around with it for another six months. I’d not offended if you don’t ask for the longer one. But if you do, ask.

Take good care of yourselves. I do care about you all, more than it is apparent. … I care, not only because I like to see around, but also for your sakes. …

Please remember I am no saint nor genius. I’d rather be called “the brat”.

With much affection,  Mark R. Keddy

 

 

ROOTS – MY LIFE

 

ROOTS – MY LIFE

 

A man, whose first name was Byard B. was born in DigbyCounty; Nova Scotia. His wife, Ada, was born in LunenburgCounty. Byard was supposed to be of pure Scotish ancestry, but during a trip taken in the 1970’s by their daughter to get acquainted with her other relatives, she, Frances, found that many of her distant cousins etc, seem to be more English than Scottish.

Ada’s maiden name was Jacques. Her father was American French from the State of Maine. The other part of her was a mixture. She usually maintained it was Dutch, but apparently her mother’s family was from the disputed territory of Germany. Ada’s mother lived in Seattle for many years until her death at age 91(?). An Aunt Alice (to Ada) in Nova Scotia lived to age 107.

Ada met Byard B. They married and had two daughters, Violet and Frances, and then two sons, Earl and Cecil. The single family moved west to Westlock in Northern Alberta. Here, Cecil was born, the youngest of the family on August 16, 1917. Then two years later, the family’s moved to Northern B.C. around Vanderhoof, BurnsLake area. The North Country has been a very popular living area for three generations until the last few years. In the 1950’s and 60’s, most of them were strung out by the dothe ens from Quesnel to Smithers, but in the 1970’s, a southern migration took place. Going back to the years when they were still a single family, they lived in TrinityValley and Mara (North Okanagan) for several years. Cecil went to the MaraSchool for grades 6 and 7, then he left to go work on a farm.

Byard was a carpenter. He also made railroad ties, and skidding poles out of the bush. Also, other bush work and small farm work along the way. Byard and Ada were Anglican. Byard built at least one church up North.

Those who know Nova Scotia, say that their last name is a very common name in the province. Phone books contain pages of them. A traveling minister who was assigned out there for a few months said there is even a chain of Keddy Motor Inns in Nova Scotia, also New Brunswick.

Cecil would joke that he was a Heinz fifty seven varieties, but the next generations were mixed even more. His wife was Scandinavian. One of their sons is married to someone who has roots in Jamaica with Negro blood. Her parents were French and English, and spoke both languages fluently. She grew up in Quebec. Their other son was married to a wife with German, English, Chinese, and North American Indian roots in her. The second wife of a nephew of Signe is from the Philiphines.

The first contact that the original family had with “the Kingdom Message” was by some “traveling pioneers”, the Bowren’s who worked up and down the Okanagan valley. Cecil was 14. His parents traded some eggs for a book or two in the old “Studies in the Scriptures” series. Later, a fellow named Nore Hauer came to have Bible discussions. Apparently, Byard got quite interested in this literature. Cecil recalls that his dad would often remark and agree about many things contained in it. One of the teachings that he found reasonable was on “Hell”. (Ever since their start in the 1880’s, “The Watchtower” publications has shown that the Bible does not teach that immortal souls suffer in everlasting fire,) He said, in agreement, that “Hell” is only “a hole in the ground” or in other words the common grave of mankind. Meanwhile, Cecil had become a young Sunday School teacher in the Mara Anglican Church. One day while walking to church, a car came by. The man in the car was called Harold. He was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and started talking about the Bible. Harold lived nearby with his mother, two brothers and two younger sisters; Ruth {the youngest}, and the older one, Signe. Their place was across the road from MaraPark on the Lake. This family had a very homey place with a garden, chickens, cows, dogs and other critters. A nice creek running in the back yard. Anyway, Cecil got to know Lief, the oldest brother, very well. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that very few among them are selected by holy spirit for heavenly life. Lief was one. Cecil was introduced to the “Light” books which he studied very thoroughly. These books contained a detailed explanation of the Bible Book of Revelation. Cecil read them by himself, but the man who he got them from would talk by the hour about the Bible. By this time, Byard began to change his mind about Jehovah’s Witnesses, so did not want Cecil to continue. But Cecil did. Cecil was baptised at a Seattle Assembly in 1938.

 

Let us stop here to reverse time. On July 8, 1939, Cecil married Signe.

Almost five years later, Cecil was in jail in Kamloops while Signe was inthe Kelowna General Hospital. the roof of the hospital opened up. A strange creature came through. It somewhat resembled a human baby. It was from Mars. they could not say that it was delivered by an U.F.O. because it came too slow. It was not flying. It was three weeks late on its long nine months journey. Hitting the hospital atmosphere, he was left black and blue. He was stunned for thirty minutes. He was almost a goner before he began to breathe the earth’s atmosphere. This was how it was that the Keddy family made another Mark on this earth. the rest of this tale will be told in the next chapter.

The oldest daughter, Nora married a man named Harvey Whyte. Harvey went bald when he was 21 after having pneumonia. He would quipped that a person could not grow hair and brains both or grass does not grow on a busy street.

This couple pioneered the Kingdom message crisscrossing the prairies in a Watch Tower Society’s house car during the 1930’s. Harvey Whyte had a vital part in the underground work during the War Years when the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses was under a legal ban. There are many exciting experiences told of how literature and supplies got through police check-points. Then books and magazines were hid in underground pits and many other places. Sensitive letters, records, lists of names etc. were hid in homes. There were incidences of where police were searching the back rooms while responsible ones were slipping out the front door with whatever. Children born during these times grew up listening to adults reminiscence for years after.

MUCH of the following information have been re-worded and rearranged from notes etc., given to me, mixed with my own memories.

When we were very young, mom would relate many of her childhood experiences. As most kids, Terry and I would ask mom to tell us the same stories over and over again.

Back in the 1920’s, the Anseth family developed prolonged stomach ailments. They could not figure out why. Grandma Anseth had purchased a set of aluminum pots. A while later, some  Bible  Students called on her. They showed her a magazine entitled “Golden Age” explaining the dangers of using aluminum cookware. She took an axe to them. She did not want to give them away to make anyone else sick. She reasoned if they were right about the cookware, then they might be also right about Bible doctrine. Grandma had been terrified at pictures at church depicting what hell was suppose to be like . So she was so relieved when she learned why these Bible  students taught that there was no literal hell fire nor any other pain after death.

One day, Mr. Larson, a neighbour, got tired of hearing grandfather bragging about the Vikings, he said , in his Swedish accent: “who were the Vikings but a bunch of sea robbers.”

 

Near the end of her  earthly life , Molly Bodie, who was one of the remnant wrote a letter expressing her feelings that she had been hitched to a race horse.

In 1919, uncle Lief attended the convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, where a large banner was unfolded revealing the slogan: “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise the King, and the Kingdom.”.

SOME OF THE EVENTS IN HIS LIFE AS ONE OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES. BY HAROLD C. ANSETH

It was in the late 1920’s that the Anseth family first came in contact with the truth, when Walter Bodie called at the ir home. He was a the ealous Bible Student (as the Witnesses were called in those days.)

In 1930, uncle Harold first started sharing in the service. He was seventeen at the time. Then in 1931, uncle Harold had a big share in placing the booklet called “The Kingdom the Hope of the World.” This was the booklet which informed the world that the name, Jehovah’s Witnesses was now the proper name for Jehovah’s people. Before this, we were just known as “Bible Students”. In fact , we were legally registered as the  “International Bible Students Association”.  But  people also labeled us with inappropriate names such as  “Russellites”.  Even kids used this term derogatorily while mom was going to school.

In the fall of 1934,  uncle Harold symbolized his  dedication by baptism in the home of Walter Bodie.

Another time of importance in his life was the year 1935. At this time the WATCHTOWER brought out information showing that there were two separate classes –the 144,000 being the heavenly class and a Great crowd who formed an earthly class. it was also explained that the earthly class was not to partake of the memorial emblems. How happy he was to learn of this since  uncle  Harold had never felt right about partaking of the emblems, the bread and wine.

These emblems symbolise the blood and  flesh of Jesus Christ which  he gave to buy back the prospects of everlasting life for  obedient humankind. the night   before he was  hung on a charge of sedition, he made a  covenant with his  disciples  for   them  to rule   the   earth   from heaven. just as any other government, not everyone is invited to be one of the ruling class.

The next important event of his life was in 1938 when uncle Harold attended the first large convention at Seattle, Washington. It was the only time he saw and heard Brother Rutherford, the second president of the Watchtower Society. This was the same convention that my dad was baptized at.

In 1940, the Canadian Government banned the Watchtower Society and its publications. All during the ban, uncle Harold  was used as a messenger, once a month picking up all the reports from the congregations between Penticton and Kamloops and on the way back Harold  delivered the magazines and other literature to these congregations. Uncle  Harold  used to drive all night, as uncle Harold  worked as foreman on a fruit ranch and could not get time off during the day. So he  could not tell anyone why he  needed the time off.

Right after the ban was lifted, uncle Harold was arrested and imprisoned, and later sent to a C.O. Camp (Conscientious Objectors Camp) on Vancouver Island. However, after four months there Harold  was sent back to his job as it was considered important and could be classed as alternative service.

Shortly after the war was over, his first wife, Margaret, left the congregation and became unfaithful to him. This was a very difficult time for him as they had a little boy, David, 1 1/2 years old, and his wife would not give uncle full custody of him. Finally after selling the car and giving her the money and all the furniture she signed over her right of the ir son to him. Throughout this time, uncle  Harold never lost faith in Jehovah and his organization, and since then Jehovah has blessed him.

In the summer of 1946, five of them, on a budget of $260 for three weeks, with a car and a  small trailer, drove to Cleveland, Ohio to attend the first truly international assembly. Some of the highpoints of this assembly were the introduction of the circuit system and circuit assemblies, and the release of the book “Let God be True”. The assembly itself was eight days in length. Since that assembly in 1946 until the 1990’s, uncle Harold have been able to attend  every  international assembly except for two.

Uncle  Harold always credited Jehovah in blessing him in being able to serve in various positions in the congregation arrangement. The first time as congregation overseer was at Kelowna in the early 40’s. By the early fifties, uncle Harold was living at Sicamous. During this time, uncle Harold married again and helped build the Sicamous Kingdom Hall (1953)

In 1956, they moved to Salmon Arm. There uncle Harold served in the congregation in all the various positions  including the privilege of serving as TheocraticSchool overseer and Book Study Conductor.

In 1967, uncle Harold attended the TheocraticMinistrySchool at Toronto  which he considered a blessed experience. Uncle  Harold has also had the privilege of seeing two of his studies baptized.

In 1969, uncle Harold had a large share in the building of a new Kingdom Hall  in  Salmon Arm, and since October 1978, he was able to work a few days each week on the Assembly Hall currently being constructed in Vernon, B.C.

It has truly been a blessing and a privilege to serve Jehovah in his organization very actively for over sixty  years.  In 1998(?), uncle  suffered a stroke necessitating entering into the Extended Care Unit of the Hospital.

 

INTERVIEW AT THE CIRCUIT ASSEMBLY MARCH 1985

 

In March of 1985, uncle Harold was interviewed at the Vernon Assembly Hall. At that time, he was baptized 51 years, and had engaged in service for 55 years.

In July 1940, Jehovah’s Witnesses  were banned in Canada, so they could not use the mail.    Some of the men were given Special Assignments as messengers.  They would pick up reports etc. and deliver literature and magazines from and to the Congregations. No names were used, all went by Letters and Numbers; they were also instructed to hide all Campaign Literature. They would put their names on all Personal Literature. In this way, there would be no evidence of distributing banned literature to the public. Obeying this proved very helpful to the brothers. In this way, it lessened the possibility of  being arrested by the police.

Jehovah’s Witnesses  were viewed as weakening the war effort in Canada. Regardless where in this world they live, even in peace time  and democratic nations, Jehovah’s Witnesses  have been and still are often viewed  as enemies of the state. There is much documentary evidence in every part  of the earth, though, that Jehovah’s Witnesses are an asset to any community and society as  a  whole. Nevertheless, whenever any government thinks  that they are in a crunch, they tend to restrict our activities.   Mainstream religions who are concerned about what they consider “their territory”,   are also quick to support their nationalistic agendas and incite opposition to our work.

Also during World War Two, scriptural Direction on how to defend our NEUTRALITY was made very clear.

Police investigated  uncle Harold.   Somehow,  he stalled them off for two years.

 

Having been very active in SERVICE proved a real blessing, He was classed as a conscientious objecter.

So working with Jehovah’s Organization has provided real Spiritual Security for  uncle Harold.

Many were asked to donat to the Red Cross in exchange for their freedom from jail, prisons, work camps, and even beatings. Beside the fact that it is wrong to put a price tag on integrity, the Red Cross was very involved in the war effort and other issues which we disapprove of.

Uncle Harold has always wholeheartedly recommended that we stay close to Jehovah’s Organization, being Loyal to it, beside helping everyone around him to do likewise.

Closely follow its direction and counsel, and be regular and faithful in our service to God. As 1 Sam. 12:14; admonishes to SERVE JEHOVAH and OBEY HIS VOICE.

 

Nov. 30/92

EARLY HISTORY OF JEHOVAH’s WITNESSES IN WESTBANK, B.C.

In the spring of 1937,  uncle  Harold started to work at Westbank.

There was one couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Westbank by the name of Brother and Sister William Cook, but they never went from house to house, they only witnessed to people when they came to their home.

Uncle  Harold started to witness in Westbank by himself.  uncle Harold found one elderly couple by the name of Lundeen, who were getting the Watchtower  and who were receiving the magathe ines.

In those early  years , uncle Harold did much witnessing in all of Westbank, Peachland, and some in Kelowna, Winfield and Oyama.

Uncle  started a Bible study with a nice Japanese family. They were coming along very well, but when Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned, they became afraid, and stopped studying.

He used to go to Summerland Sunday evening and attend the WatchTower study there at Davis’ home. Priors, Myers and Dowds also came there for the study. Sometimes, uncle Harold would go in the service at Summerland with Summerland Congregation, and sometimes Davis would come and work with uncle at Westbank. When he was witnessing in Peachland, he found Mrs. Mema Eddy. She was interested in the truth and uncle Harold started a home Bible study with her. Uncle  Harold and Margaret  also took her to her first assembly at Vancouver. Later he turned the study over to uncle Harvey and aunt  Nora.

Brother and Sister Keddy came to Westbank in 1940 and Brother and Sister Whyte in 1942.

In 1942, they started to hold congregation studies amongs the three families, but the traveling overseers, when they visited, suggested that we conduct our studies in Kelowna because there was more interest there. So they rented the Orange Hall at Kelowna, which cost us $15.00 a month. uncle Harold was presiding overseer at that time, but it was still called the Westbank Congregation.

Once a month during the ban, uncle Harold was one of the messengers who used to drive all night picking up and carrying all congregation reports from Nelson to Kamloops, and bringing back magazines and all other needed literature for the congregations.

When the ban was lifted, uncle Harold was arrested because he would not join the army, and at that time. uncle  Harvey Brother Whyte became the presiding overseer.

However, uncle Harold was only away for about five months, due to his former emperor pulled strings to get him out of prison. I do  not know the exact  details of how she did it, but she  told the authorities since Harold was needed to look after the Pritchard Orchard, and to pump water for the truck gardening at Boucherie. By the way, she was not one of Jehovah’s    Witnesses.  He  left Westbank in the fall of 1946.

 

SICAMOUS CONGREGATION

 

In 1935, uncle Harold, as he had promised, took his two younger sisters and brother Bert away from the father, moving out west. They found a place for  sale in Solsqua B.C. as advertised in a newspaper, he did not know a soul there. After paying the rent for six months in advance. uncle Harold only had $6.50, to his name.

Uncle Harold was a very energetic person , but not pretentious. His attitude was to serve in whatever capacity that Jehovah’s organization has seen fit to use him. Uncle was a very cheerful and decisive worker. He was a go getter in all aspects of congregational and field activity. He was always zealous  to preach and teach the good news. 1 Cor. 3:6, 7; brings out that it is Jehovah who makes it grow.

In 1948, uncle Harold moved to Sicamous, that was when the Mara Congregation became the Sicamous Congregation.

At that time the meetings were held at his home in Sicamous. Later, we rented the Women’s Institute Hall. On the wall, there were a large portraits of the queen and Winston Churchill. I seemed to remember that there were flags around which seemed very strange for us. Vern Duncombe was our circuit servant at the time. It was not a compliment, but mom and others could not help but notice the resemblance to Churchill. Mom had always thought that Churchill had a bulldog look. Mom thought that he (Bros. Duncombe was aware of the glances and the resemblance.

Seeing the need for our own Kingdom Hall. In 1952, uncle Harold bought the lot and they built our first Kingdom Hall in 1953.

Some of the first ones to attend our meetings when the Sicamous Congregation was started were–Harvey and Nora Whyte, The Westman Family, The Langstaffs, The Vayryens, The Keddys, The Amorosa’s and The Huscrofts.

Some of the first ones to come into the truth were the Westman Family, Cecil Keddy, John and Florance Carr, Ethel Wilson, Hither Lejharger, and other indirectly. Ethel’s husband was kind of an odd character. Mild, hard to describe and get to know when sober, but he became a tyrant when drunk.

 

Rod and Alice Langstaff came in 1951.

Kosti and Elena Vayrynen  from Finland arrived in 1952

Tony Amoroso and Family and

Clyde and Clara Huscroft in 1952.

 

In 1952, uncle Harold bought the lot where our first Kingdom Hall in Sicamous was built.

 

It was built in 1953. We had around 34 Publishers at that time.

 

The first Presiding Overseers were Harold Anseth, then Harvey Whyte, Pete Westman, Rod Langstaff, and then Vern Dando.

In the fall of 1955, uncle Harold moved from Sicamous to Salmon Arm where there was a need for overseers. Aunt Alma missed the hills of Salmon Arm.

 

Some who became witnesses  from 1953 to 1955, were Cecil Keddy, The Westman Family, Malakwa B.C. John and Florence Carr, Mara B.C.

Brother and Sister Blatchford….

 

DEDICATION OF SICAMOUS KINGDOM HALL APRIL 16 & 17, 1983

Anything said here is said only to show you how Jehovah has blessed us, and to inform you of how the Sicamous Congregation got started.

In 1935 uncle  Harold came to B.C. Bert Anseth, His brother Bert drove grandma, my mom and aunty Ruth, two younger sisters in his car.

In the fall of 1935 Harold bought a home ten miles south of Sicamous. (on MaraLake) It was there were the first congregation was started. It was called the Mara Congregation.

We Witnessed all through, Mara, Sicamous and Malakwa.

Lief Anseth and his Wife Also moved in with us.

The first ones to show interest in the truth was the Westman family. Lief and Elise Anseth studied with them and in time the whole family came into the truth.

 

Uncle Harold had to go to Westbank B.C. to work to pay for our home, but in the mean time the Watchtower Study was conducted at Westman’s home. But other meetings were carried on in our home at Mara, B.C. were Bert, our mother and two sisters lived.

 

During the ban our home was used as a place for any of our traveling brothers to stop over., As well as were we stored large quantity’s of literature.

in 1946, uncle Harold moved back to Mara.

In 1948, uncle Harold moved to Sicamous, Built a house there —–

That is when the Mara Congregation was changed to become the Sicamous Congregation. The Westman family now strong in the truth was a big help. Also Harvey and Nora Whyte moved to Sicamous in 1948.

To begin with the Congregation meetings were held in uncle Harold’s home. Later, the Women’s Institute hall was rented.

Unc Harold, in his notes listed some of the Witnesses that moved into Sicamous were Cecil and Signe Keddy in 1951, with their two sons; Mark 7 years old and Terence 5 years old.

 

INTERVIEW AT THE VERNON ASSEMBLY

 

(1) Ques. When were you dedicated?–

unc Harold was baptized on October 21, 1934

(2) Ques. In what forms of service have you shared?

Uncle Harold: have had the privilege to serve as a Company servant, a term that later changed to Congregation Overseer, T.M.S. Overseer, Account Servant, and others;

And during the BAN, uncle Harold served as a messenger between Penticton and Kamloops. He also enjoyed both regular and auxiliary pioneering.

(3) Ques. Have there ever been any difficulty in serving Jehovah?

Ans.. Yes. During World War Two, Harold was incarcerated for some months, Harold was taken hand-cuffed to Vancouver and there Harold was hand-cuffed to a — Murderer and led down the streets in Vancouver Etc.———

After that Harold was taken to Okalla Prison and from there to a C.O. Camp on Vancouver Island. There for the first time Harold met L. McGregor and Tom McBrine

(4) Question: what had helped him stand fast in the truth?

Ans.. Well there is a number of things, 7 outstanding:

No. 1-Walter Bodie–

No. 2-The identifying of the Great Crowd in 1935—Before that Harold was puzzled were he fit into Jehovah’s arrangements, mother told me Harold should take–emblems—-Jehovah always clarifies matters–proper time–

No. 3-By keeping up with the truth,–reading and studying it—

No. 4- By regularly attending the meetings and sharing in them

No. 5 () By having a full share in the Service.

No. 6-By the love and encouragement from faithful brothers, Circuit and District Servants. and letters

No. 7-By having a close relationship with Jehovah.–

 

BEGINNING AND ADVANCEMENT OF THE SALMON ARM CONGREGATION

 

In 1935, when the y came to B.C. from Saskatchewan, uncle wrote the W.T.B.&T.S. as to were they could get in touch with some of Jehovah’s W. close to us as they then lived at Solsqua B.C.

I recieved a letter back to tell me that there was one witness of Jehovah living at Canoe, B.C. and that her name was Alma Groat.

So in the beginning, as far as true worshiper of Jehovah God was concerned, Salmon Arm was no different then that of any other place in the world. It had a very small beginning.

But should that surprise us, go back over 1900 years to the beginning of our christian era and what do we find?–John the Baptist. At John 1:23, John said “I am a voice of some one crying in the wilderness, make the way of Jehovah straight.”

In our day most of us here know of the small beginning that Jehovah’s Witnesses have had in every part of the earth. Use example of Kelowna B.C.

So as Zechariah 4:10 says,”For who has depised the day of small things.”

Now then to get back to Salmon Arm and its beginning.

In 1941, the first company of Jehovah’s Witnesses was started out at Tappen, B.C. The meetings were held at Brother and Sister Sid Roberts’ home.

Brother and Sister Roberts had been pioneering for many years throughout all the districts around Salmon Arm and in Salmon Arm.

The company at Tappen when it started had only three publishers.

By the way, some of you here may not be familar with the terms used here such as Company Servant and Publishers. In those years the term “company” referred to a congregation.

Then in 1946, a company of Jehovah’s Witnesses was also started at Phil Roy’s home and Brother Phil Roy served as Company Servant. As close as Harold could find out there were up to 16 in attendance at these meetings.

However, the first records there are of the Salmon Arm congregation or company, as it was then called, is in 1948 when Brother Harry Groat was Company Servant. There were then 22 publishers in the Company. But as Harry Groat wanted to be relieved of the position, Brother R.J. Lynn, a pioneer, became Company Servant to help out for a while that same year of 1948.

In 1949, Brother Lewis Ward was Company Servant with 20 active publishers. In 1950, Brother Phil Roy was again Company servant and there were 26 active publishers. Some were coming up from Enderby Congregation to be servants in the congregation.

Because Phil Roy was leaving the district, Brother Henry Donavan bcame Company Servant in 1950. They now moved their meetings to Sister Groat’s home.

In 1951, a Kingdom Hall was built at Peachy Hill at Sister Groat’s place with 38 publishers.

In 1952, Brother Robert Lennea became congregation Servant and there were 45 publishers in the congregation. Brother Lennea was Congregation Servant for five years and during this time some changes were made.

In 1954, the Tappen Congregation and Salmon Arm Congregation amalgamated. This brought the total publishers up to 67. Also they sold the Kingdom Hall at Peachy Hill on Sister Groat’s place and bought the lot where it is now.

It had quite a large building on it so the Salmon Arm Congregation fixed it up and made a Kingdom Hall of it. This served us up till 1970.

1958 saw a change in Congregation Servants again as Brother Lennea went east to serve where the need was greater. So Brother Herbert Nicholson served as Congregation Servant for eight years and in 1958, there were 84 publishers.

1964 saw a total of 105 publishers so the congregation was divided into two units, the East & the West. And as a Congregation Servant was needed for the West unit, uncle Harvey Whyte moved from Sicamous to fill the need.

In 1966, brother Herb Nicholson moved away so uncle Harold served as Congregation Servant for one year. Also, Brother Howard Gibson moved to Salmon Arm because of the need for mature servants here.

In October 1967, Brother Howard Gibson replaced uncle Harold as Congregation Servant because of poor eye sight. Also during these years some families moved east to serve where the need was greater. This weakened the servant bodies in the two units, so in 1968, the two units amalgamated into one congregation so as to have a strong servant body to serve the congregation. The total publishers in the congregation was now 75.

But Jehovah did bless this arrangement bacause many new ones have begun to associate with us and have become publishers with us since then. As the records show in 1968 there were 75 publishers and now we have reached almost a hundred. We now have 96 publishers in the congregation with the highest average hours that the congregation has ever had. Yes, from one witness of Jehovah in 1935 to 96 in 1971–What an increase!!!

This then brings us up to date on the advancement of the Salmon Arm Congregation, that because of the faithfulness of the few servants of Jehovah God years ago, not giving up because they were few, has resulted in a large congregation serving Jehovah God and preaching and teaching to the people of Salmon Arm about God’s Kingdom. That by it, shortly this whole earth will be ruled in righteousness and peace for ever as Isaiah 9:6,7 tells us. Read

Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses of Salmon Arm are very happy that Jehovah God has blessed us so abundantly so that we can uphold his word, praise his name and announce his kingdom here in Salmon Arm.

In my early childhood, I was very fond of or neighbouring congregation, Enderby. For example, there was Martin and Elsie Francis. They were pure gold. They lived on Highway 97 just at the south end of town. I seem remember them having a cow and chickens. We would enjoy stopping their for an enjoyable visit and meal. Martin was congregation servant for many years. Elsie was one of the dear Craig family.

 

Ruth Gibbard (Moms younger sister)

ChristinaLake, B. C.

 

Dear Mark,

 

Your mom said you would like a little short version of our family history, so hope this will do. Hope you’re having a good winter. We have been very busy keeping up with the snow. Have had some almost everyday for four weeks now so have quite a lot.

 

We have quite a long driveway and lots sidewalks so lots to clear, even with the snowblower.

We get to see your folks quite often so that is nice.

with love

Aunt Ruth

 

Wilfred R. Gibbard was born May 10, 1913

Ruth E. Gibbard – born January 23, 1919.

They were married May 7, 1938, in Okanogan, Washington. Spent first 10 summers on Old Glory Lookout in the Rossland BC area.

 

Darlene was born May 3,19for1, Took her up on the lookout when she was two months old. Elaine born August 2, 1945, went up on the lookout when 11 months old.

 

In 1948, uncle Wilf started packing supplies up to the Meteor logical Station.

Ruth, Darlene and Elaine were on the lookout that summer. The following years we stayed at Camp and helped with packing. Took from 19-30 tons of supplies each summer. That went on till 1967 when the station burnt down.

 

Uncle Wilf worked at various jobs during winter months, from working for Cominco School Board, Highways, Carpentry – later Snow plowing sidewalks and private driveways with his own small snowplow (tractor). Also started roofing houses in summer months and cleaning CanadainCustomsBuilding till retirement in 1978.

 

In 1981, uncle Wilf & aunty Ruth sold their Rossland Farm and moved to Christina Lake B.C. Have two lots and nice cosy little house. Have been here 11 years.

 

 

SIGNE CAROLINE ANSETH KEDDY

 

June 4, 1980

 

 

November 1915 to May 1935 – Mossbank, Sasketchewan

May 1935 to April 1941 – MaraLake, B.C.

April 1941 to Spring 1945 – Westbank, B.C.

Spring 1945 to September 1949 – Kelowna, B.C.

September 1949 to November 1951, we lived across from what is now is the Mara LakePark and Campground.

November 1951 to June 1980 – Sicamous, B.C.

 

Lived in Sicamous 37 years to date June 1980

 

On August 13, 1988, dad and mom moved to Kelowna B.C., 1790 Chamberlain Rd.

 

My mom – Signe

 

Her mother:

Anna Sofie (Johnson) Anseth

Born in Dalsland Sweden in 1874

Emigrated to U.S.A. (Wisconsin) – 1899

Married – June 15, 1907

Moved to Mossbank, Sask. – 1909

Moved to B.C. – Spring 1935

Died Tuesday February 17, 1959

 

Mom’s father was Oscar Alexander Anseth.

He was born in Ostenden, Norway in 1867

Imigrated to U.S.A. at 14 years old as a “stowaway”

Married – June 15, 1907,  Moved to Mossbank, Sask – 1909

Died in Moose Jaw, Sask. – 1955

 

Nora and Harvey

(Mom’s sister Nora)

December to MaraLake (visit) – 1938

again to B.C. December – 1940

Spring – “Spec work” – 1940

Back to B.C. – November 1941

Job at Westbank Spring – 1940

The congregation met Orange Hall, Kelowna in 1948

Moved to Sicamous – 1948; there 15 years

Moved to Salmon Arm in  1963.

 

Bert and Mary Anseth (mom’s brother Bert)

were married on October 2, 1944 lived first -in the  “Honeymoon Shack” (on MaraLake home) about two years

(Harold and Margaret then on Leif and Elsie’s place (south home on Mara Place)

in the third year Bert and Mary into the Log house (Mara Lake Home)….1947?

Harold and Margaret moved into South House, MaraLake, David a baby (one year?)

Unc Bert and Mary lived seven years in Mara

then Leif and Elsie and Bert and Mary moved to California in 1948. they were there for nine years until 1957? Then they moved to Del-Mar Mesa, lived there 5-6 years….1962–1963?

then in Valley Centre California (Leif and Elsie only I think) – 1966

Approximately 3 years

Leif and Elsie there 2 years

Bert and Mary came back to Canada.in 1962?